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Characterization of Precipitates Associated with Bituminous Coal Mine Drainage, Northern Appalachian Region, USA

Kairies, Candace Lianne (2003) Characterization of Precipitates Associated with Bituminous Coal Mine Drainage, Northern Appalachian Region, USA. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Changes in precipitate mineralogy, morphology, and major and trace elemental concentrations and associations throughout five coal mine drainage remediation systems in Pennsylvania and Maryland that treat discharges of varying chemistries were investigated. The precipitates are dominantly (>70%) goethite with minor amounts of other iron and/or manganese oxides and quartz. Crystallinity varies throughout an individual system and is a function of the treatment system and how rapidly ferrous iron oxidizes, precipitates, and settles. Precipitates formed earlier in the systems have the highest crystallinity; less crystalline precipitates are associated with enhanced sorption of trace metals. High surface area and vacancies within the goethite structure enable incorporation of metals from mine drainage polluted waters. Sorption affinities follow the order Al>Zn>Co=Ni>Mn. As pH increases in the individual treatment systems toward the pHpzc, arsenic sorption decreases and aluminum and transition metal sorption increases. Sulfate, sodium and ferrous iron potentially influence the sorption of trace metals.A sequential extraction procedure was developed to determine how trace elements are associated with the precipitates. Arsenic, cobalt, manganese, nickel and zinc are not released until the iron hydroxide phase is dissolved, indicating these metals are either tightly sorbed to the surface or incorporated into the hydroxide structure. Cobalt and nickel preferentially partition into a manganese oxide/hydroxide phase (if present), over the iron hydroxide phase. The stability of the precipitate controls the long-term mobility of trace metals. Associated trace metals will remain unavailable to the environment as long as the precipitate is not altered.Additionally, spatial and temporal variations between precipitates formed from a net-alkaline coal mine discharge were examined. The precipitates are all moderately crystalline goethite with minor variations in morphology and composition. They contain 20 - 30% more iron than the natural mined iron oxides examined in this study, and concentrations of manganese, nickel and zinc are up to three orders of magnitude lower than the natural iron oxides. Geochemical analysis indicates that mine drainage precipitates formed from net-alkaline waters are of a higher purity than natural iron oxides. Results of this study have implications for disposal, resource recovery, and the optimization of mine drainage passive remediation systems.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kairies, Candace
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCapo, Rosemary Crcapo@pitt.eduRCAPO
Committee MemberStewart, Brian Wbstewart@pitt.eduBSTEWART
Committee MemberLidiak, Edward Gegl@pitt.eduEGL
Committee MemberRollins, Harold
Committee MemberHedin, Robert
Date: 28 May 2003
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 7 June 2002
Approval Date: 28 May 2003
Submission Date: 6 May 2003
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Geology and Planetary Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: goethite; iron hydroxides; mine drainage; trace metals; sequential extraction; sorption
Other ID:, etd-05062003-143445
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:43
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:43


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