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Treatment of Acid Mine Drainage Using Fly Ash Zeolite

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In this paper, two Indian fly ashes (from Talcher and Ramagundam) were converted into zeolites and both the raw fly ash and zeolite were used to treat two British acidic mine waters. The results demonstrate that fly ash zeolites are more effective than raw fly ash for treatment of acid mine drainage. Fly ash has been found effective for removal of Pb, but with increased dosing, caused release of Ba, Cr, Sr (both fly ashes) plus Zn, Ni (Talcher), or Fe (Ramagundam) into mine water. In contrast, increased dosing with fly ash zeolite removed 100% Pb, 98.9% Cd, 98.8% Zn, 85.6% Cu, 82.8% Fe, 48.3% Ni, and 44.8% Ba from mine water. Fly ash is amorphous in nature and many metals attached on the surface of the ash particles are easily leached off when ash comes in contact with acidic mine water. However, fly ash zeolite is crystalline in nature and due to its high cation exchange properties, most of the metals present in acid mine water are retained in surface sites.

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One of the authors (Bably Prasad) is thankful to Commonwealth Commission, UK for the award of Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellowship at School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK. Authors express their gratitude to Dr. Eric Condliffe for carrying out SEM analysis, Ms. Linda for ICP-MS analysis, and Ms Lesley Neve for XRD analysis.

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Correspondence to Bably Prasad.

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Prasad, B., Mortimer, R.J.G. Treatment of Acid Mine Drainage Using Fly Ash Zeolite. Water Air Soil Pollut 218, 667–679 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-010-0676-6

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  • Acid mine drainage
  • Heavy metals
  • Fly ash zeolite
  • Waste processing