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Environmental assessment and management of metal-rich wastes generated in acid mine drainage passive remediation systems

Journal of Hazardous Materials
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2012.05.080
  • Mine Wastes
  • En 12457-2 Leaching Test
  • Tclp Leaching Test
  • Bcr Sequential Extraction
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Political Science


Abstract As acid mine drainage (AMD) remediation is increasingly faced by governments and mining industries worldwide, the generation of metal-rich solid residues from the treatments plants is concomitantly raising. A proper environmental management of these metal-rich wastes requires a detailed characterization of the metal mobility as well as an assessment of this new residues stability. The European standard leaching test EN 12457-2, the US EPA TCLP test and the BCR sequential extraction procedure were selected to address the environmental assessment of dispersed alkaline substrate (DAS) residues generated in AMD passive treatment systems. Significant discrepancies were observed in the hazardousness classification of the residues according to the TCLP or EN 12457-2 test. Furthermore, the absence of some important metals (like Fe or Al) in the regulatory limits employed in both leaching tests severely restricts their applicability for metal-rich wastes. The results obtained in the BCR sequential extraction suggest an important influence of the landfill environmental conditions on the metals released from the wastes. To ensure a complete stability of the pollutants in the studied DAS-wastes the contact with water or any other leaching solutions must be avoided and a dry environment needs to be provided in the landfill disposal selected.

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