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Long-term removal and retention of iron and manganese from acidic mine drainage by wetlands. Volume 1: methods, results, and appendices.

Brooks RP; Unz RF; Davis LK; Tarutis WJ; Yanchunas J
Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, HO378022, 1990 Jan; :1-145
A promising low-technology solution for treating acidic mine drainage (AMD) emanating from coal mined lands involves the use of constructed wetlands. This research was directed at addressing questions about retention mechanisms for the long-term storage of iron and manganese in constructed wetlandsdominated by broad-leaved cattails (typha latifolia). Three sites in central Pennsylvania spanning the range of water chemistry parameters found in AMD were investigated. When the AMD was circumneutral, and metal loadings were low, 79 pct of the iron and 48 pct of the manganese were retained on average. In the highly acidic site (ph 3),<10 pct of the metal loadings were retained. The primary retention mechanism appears to be the formation of metal oxides in the aerobic zones of the sediments. Although most microbial isolates extracted from sediment cores originated in the aerobic portions of the sediments, there was no evidence that they were transforming metals. When AMD is circumneutral and metal loadings are low, constructed wetlands can be an effective approach to treating mine drainage. At sites with highly acidic waters and high metal loadings, the use of constructed wetlands to treat AMD may be ineffectual and should be implemented with caution.
Mine waters; Water pollution control; Iron; Manganese; Coal mining; Hydrology; Water chemistry; Sediments; Metals; Site surveys; Aerobic processes; Water flow; Sampling; Performance evaluation; Surface waters; Ground water; Precipitation; Meteorology; Microorganisms; Acid mine drainage; Wetlands; Retention functions; Typha latifolia; Sediment-water interfaces; Long term effects; Environmental transport; Tracer studies
Publication Date
Document Type
CP; Final Contract Report
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
OFR 24(1)-90; Contract-HO378022
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines, HO378022
Performing Organization
Pennsylvania State University
Page last reviewed: December 3, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division