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Sulphate-reducing laboratory-scale high-rate anaerobic reactors for treatment of metal-and sulphate-containing mine wastewater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-608
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Technology
Volume23
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Abstract

Upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors were used in this study to evaluate the feasibility of the sulphate-reducing, anaerobic high-rate process to treat metal- and sulphate-containing mining wastewater (MWW). Four simultaneous reactors, inoculated with different inocula (mesophilic granular sludge from two UASB reactors, one treating sugar refinery wastewater and the other board mill wastewater) and operated with different loadings, were for 95 days fed with synthetic feed consisting of glucose and sulphate. In all reactors, 23 - 72% of sulphate and 12 - 93% of COD were removed. Subsequently, two reactors were fed with diluted MWW (zinc as the main metal) for 77 days with hydraulic retention times down to 8 hours. At the onset of the runs (until day 48), over 99.9% of zinc was removed in both reactors, after which removals fell to less than 30 - 80%. At the end of the runs, the highest zinc content (44 mg g -1TS) in the reactor sludges was 21 times higher than that in the inoculum. It cannot be concluded definitively that sulphide precipitation was the only mechanism of metal removal, for biosorption may have had a role to play in the process.

Keywords

  • Biological metal removal, Mining wastewater, Sulphate reduction, UASB-reactor, Zinc removal