Acid Mine Drainage Has A Prominent And Damaging Effect On The Environment

866 Words Apr 28th, 2016 4 Pages
ABSTRACT: Acid mine drainage has a prominent and damaging effect on the environment. This paper outlines the environmental impact, the chemistry behind the acid generation, and methods of treatment. The objective of this paper is to educate the reader about acid mine drainage, and what can be done to reduce this pollutant.

INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND: Acid mine drainage (AMD) often occurs at abandoned mining sites. Acid generation is the result of combining certain minerals, water, and an oxidant. Sulfide minerals are the most common producers of AMD, but mining waste rock, tailings, and other mining structures also generate AMD. AMD has a low pH and consists of large concentrations of heavy metal and other toxic elements. This pollutant affects both human health and the environment. AMD also occurs naturally, though both mining and bacteria increase the process. [1]

Two easy ways of spotting AMD is the color and smell of the region. Hydrogen sulfide gas has the odor of rotten eggs. [4] An orange-yellow substance, also known as yellow boy, is also often spotted in AMD regions. This coloration occurs when the pH rises above 3. [5]

Describe in detail how AMD occurs- mining and naturally occurring

AMD negatively effects its surrounding regions, including both for aquatic life, and life on land. Many AMD regions have a pH of 4 or less, which is comparable to battery acid or vinegar. [5] With such an acidic environment, the food web is often destroyed and AMD regions can be…

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