Utilization of Coal/Biomass Fly Ash in Reactive Barriers for Treating Acid Mine Drainage

K. Penney, E. Mohamedelhassan, and L.J.J. Catalan (Canada)


Fly Ash, Acid Mine Drainage, Mine Tailings, Biomass


This study investigates the utilization of coal/biomass fly ash (CBFA) in reactive barriers for treating acid mine drainage (AMD). Kinetic column tests show that mixtures of mine tailings with 10 to 50% CBFA by mass increase the pH and decrease the dissolved concentrations of heavy metals in AMD in compliance with mine effluent regulations. Mineral precipitation causes large reductions in hydraulic conductivity (by factors up to 2000 fold) depending on the cumulative amount of AMD flowing through the columns and the percent CBFA in the tailings/CBFA mixtures. Applications of CBFA at small concentrations in permeable reactive barriers and at larger concentrations in low-permeability cores of containment dams are discussed.

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