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Filter materials for metal removal from mine drainage—a review

Westholm, Lena Johansson, Repo, Eveliina, Sillanpää, Mika
Environmental science and pollution research international 2014 v.21 no.15 pp. 9109-9128
activated carbon, adsorption, aluminum, bark, chitin, chitosan, composts, dairy manure, dolomite, drainage, fly ash, heavy metals, ion exchange, iron, lead, lignite, limestone, mercury, peat, rice hulls, shale, slags, steel, yeasts, zeolites, zinc
A large number of filter materials, organic and inorganic, for removal of heavy metals in mine drainage have been reviewed. Bark, chitin, chitosan, commercial ion exchangers, dairy manure compost, lignite, peat, rice husks, vegetal compost, and yeast are examples of organic materials, while bio-carbons, calcareous shale, dolomite, fly ash, limestone, olivine, steel slag materials and zeolites are examples of inorganic materials. The majority of these filter materials have been investigated in laboratory studies, based on various experimental set-ups (batch and/or column tests) and different conditions. A few materials, for instance steel slag materials, have also been subjects to field investigations under real-life conditions. The results from these investigations show that steel slag materials have the potential to remove heavy metals under different conditions. Ion exchange has been suggested as the major metal removal mechanisms not only for steel slag but also for lignite. Other suggested removal mechanisms have also been identified. Adsorption has been suggested important for activated carbon, precipitation for chitosan and sulphate reduction for olivine. General findings indicate that the results with regard to metal removal vary due to experimental set ups, composition of mine drainage and properties of filter materials and the discrepancies between studies renders normalisation of data difficult. However, the literature reveals that Fe, Zn, Pb, Hg and Al are removed to a large extent. Further investigations, especially under real-life conditions, are however necessary in order to find suitable filter materials for treatment of mine drainage.