British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Field scale prototype anaerobic/wetlands cells for removing heavy metals from water leaching from a historical capped landfill Duncan, William F. A. (William Frederick Alexander); Mattes, Al


A passive treatment system utilizing an anaerobic digester followed by three plant based treatment cells has been built in Trail, British Columbia, site of the world's largest nonferrous smelter. Water becomes contaminated with heavy metals as it passes through discarded materials from the smelter and through a former Arsenic storage area. This water, containing large amounts of dissolved Zn., Cd., and As is collected and pumped to the pilot scale treatment facility. The facility, capable of treating 12-15,000 L of water daily includes a large anaerobic digester that utilizes waste by-product from the pulp and paper industry as a matrix for Sulphur Reducing Bacteria. The partially treated water then flows through a series of hydroponics cells containing a mixture of metal-resistant fast growing plants. The system uses gravity based hydroponics flow-through and solar powered aeration cells between garden cells. During the summer months transpiration will yield expected (or greater) results. All plants are perennials and after two months of operation there were no signs of impaired plant functioning.

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