Continued mining development in the world's largest lead producing area has generated and increased concern over effective mine water treatment in Missouri's New Lead Belt. A new type of mine/mill wastewater treatment system was constructed which consisted of a tailings pond followed by a series of artificially constructed meandering biotreatment channels and a polishing lagoon. This system provided additional retention time and distance for the removal of heavy metals by abundant aquatic plants and sedimentation. Seasonal field sampling and analytical testing that evaluated the present system confirmed that it provided good treatment for removal of heavy metals within the company property and produced a final effluent within the state and federal regulatory guidelines. On average, greater than 95% of zinc and manganese in the drainage water were removed by the biotreatment system, while lead and copper were 50 to 60%. A chemical equilibrium model, MINTEQ, was also used to identify various species of lead and zinc in the biotreatment system. The model predicted that the major species of carbonates and hydroxides would be the predominant complexes of lead and zinc for the pH and alkalinity values reported in the biotreatment system. These results were also supported by the literature.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Biotreatment; Lead and zinc; Mine wastewater; MINTEQ; Speciation

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Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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Publication Date

17 Nov 1999