Metal Reclamation Units (MRUs, Wetlands in a Box) Treating Acid Mine DrainageWhen:
Track 4C: Water-Energy Nexus: Meeting Challenges and Finding Solutions
Friday, October 13, 2017, 10:00 am – 11:50 am
Metal Reclamation Units (MRU’s) are semi-passive or active, modular, scalable, rapidly deployed wetland bioreactors. The biofilm which grows upon the support matrix inside an MRU is self-selecting and determined by the introduced pollutants and how they naturally attenuate. MRUs incorporate stepped waterfalls, which decrease short circuiting, increase gravity precipitation, and engender periodic and efficient gas exchanges. These continuous gas exchanges speed the oxidation or reduction process by de-gassing biotic/abiotic products and swapping them for proffered gases in an open or closed MRU. The metabolic pathways that develop and change throughout attenuation represent all three microbial domains (fungi, archaea, and bacteria) and are the MRU’s work force to remove mine drainage related metals (ferrous iron as Schwertmannite 5.5-3.2 pH, Mn as Birnnesite >6.3 pH, and Al as aluminum hydroxide >4.5 pH). MRUs support a diverse array of breeding micro and macro fauna, functioning as vernal ponds when buried and the water achieves, then surpasses, sensitivity thresholds.