Author(s): Ludwig RD, McGregor RG, Blowes DW, Benner SG, Mountjoy K
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Abstract Historical storage of ore concentrate containing sulfide minerals at an industrial site in British Columbia, Canada, has resulted in widespread contamination of the underlying soil and ground water. The oxidation of sulfide minerals has released significant quantities of heavy metals, including Cu, Cd, Co, Ni, and Zn, into the ground water. A pilot-scale, compost-based, sulfate-reducing permeable reactive barrier was installed in the path of the dissolved heavy-metal plume. The permeable reactive barrier uses sulfate-reducing bacteria to promote precipitation of heavy metals as insoluble metal sulfides. Monitoring over a 21-month period indicated significant removal of heavy metals within the barrier. Copper concentrations declined from a mean concentration of 3,630 pg/L in the influent to a mean concentration within the barrier of 10.5 microg/L, Cd from 15.3 microg/L to 0.2 microg/L, Co from 5.3 microg/L to 1.1 microg/L, Ni from 131 pg/L to 33.0 microg/L, and Zn from 2,410 microg/L to 136 pg/L. Within the lower half of the barrier where tidal influences were more limited and sulfate-reducing conditions were better maintained, mean treatment levels of 2.9 microg/L (Cu), 0.1 microg/L (Cd), 0.4 microg/L (Co), 2.7 microg/L (Ni), and 6.3 microg/L (Zn) were observed.
This article was published in Ground Water
and referenced in International Journal of Waste Resources