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Heavy metals removal from acid mine drainage water using biogenic hydrogen sulphide and effluent from anaerobic treatment: Effect of pH

Four alternatives (runs A, B, C and D) for heavy metals removal (Fe, Cu, Zn and Al) from acid mine drainage water (AMDW) produced in the mining areas of the Huelva Province, Spain, were evaluated. In run A, the anaerobic effluent from the treatment of acid mine drainage water (cheese whey added as a source of carbon) was mixed with the raw AMDW. The pH increased to 3.5 with the addition of KOH. In run B, biogas with around 30% of hydrogen sulphide obtained in the anaerobic reactor was sparged to the mixture obtained in run A, but in this case at a pH of 5.5. In run C, the pH of the raw AMDW was increased to 3.5 by the addition of KOH solution. Finally, in run D, the pH of the raw AMDW was increased to 5.5 by the addition of KOH solution and further biogas was sparged under the same conditions as in run A. It was found that heavy metal removal was a function of pH. At a pH of 3.5 most of the iron was removed while Zn and Cu were partially removed. At a pH of 5.5 the removal of all metals increased considerably. The best results were obtained in run B where the percentages of removal of Fe, Cu, Zn and Al achieved values of 91.3, 96.1, 79.0 and 99.0%, respectively. According to the experimental results obtained tentative schemas of the flow diagram of the processes were proposed.

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