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An East of England company has developed a range of media for permanently binding metal ions in contaminated waters. The medium is in itself safe and easy to use. It is recyclable and re-usable and has successfully remediated sites of very different pH and pollution levels. Lignite mine owners and remediation project managers in Central Europe are sought for commercial agreements with technical assistance.
The problem of surface water pollution from run-off at mines and spoil heaps has been well documented. The discharge of metal-contaminated waters must not be detrimental to the environment. At the same time, the methods and media used and the by-products they create, can be costly, hazardous and inefficient. The nature of pollution varies in time and space and no widely applicable solution has been proposed.
An East of England company has developed an alternative total solution that is flexible, cost-efficient and easy to use. The key component is a range of related media, produced from cheap and abundant waste. They are grains or slurry with very high charge-to-mass and surface area-to-mass ratio. They permanently bind the metal pollutants in a non-bioavailable, inert form. This is true also under acidic conditions. The grains settle rapidly. The binding of ferrous ions is followed by the co-absorption of other soluble heavy metals. This way, every kilogramme of the medium turns more than 200 grams of iron and heavy metals inert. The medium also has excellent pH neutralisation properties. Another nice side effect is the removal of odorous compounds.
The media are being validated at a trial site in Devon, an old mine that closed in 1958. Working with the owner the site is being turned into a nature reserve.
The trial is proving that the latest product can treat seriously contaminated mine tailings and then grow a valuable bio-mass energy crop. The reason is the huge desolate areas in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic where lignite has been mined for energy. These areas are not seriously contaminated but the condition is such that any growth of plants is scarce. With the new method a one off treatment is required and then planting with Miscanthus grass. Miscanthus grows to just under 4 metres and when harvested a tonne of Miscanthus will provide the same energy as 0.75tonne of lignite. Miscanthus has a life of 20 – 25years and will provide an annual harvest.
The area shown in the photo is about 15sq m and was treated with 0.5cu m of base powder material 10 days before planting. An additional small amount of the base material together with cheap compost was used to line the bottom of the planting trenches ( 8 – 10cms deep) and the Miscanthus rhizomes were planted and backfilled with the treated tailings.
The photo shows the growth after 5 weeks.
The East of England company is looking for end users-lignite mine owners in Central Europe, for commercial agreements with technical assistance. The UK company assists with choosing the right media and provides technical support through the project lifetime.
A cheap and abundant waste material has been tailored so as to permanently bind ferrous and heavy metal ions. It has strong neutralising properties and is in itself safe and easy to use. It copes with large fluctuations of contamination levels and allows for fast remediation.
The patent application is global.
The East of England company is looking for end users-lignite mine owners or organisations managing remediation projects in Central Europe, for commercial agreements with technical assistance. The UK company assists with choosing the right media and provides technical support through the project lifetime.