Sulfate Reducing Bacteria Pilot, Coal Mine, Western PA

Sulfate reducing barrier

Sovereign is completing a project involving the removal of sulfate (and metals) from mine water at a former coal mine. The mine water is near neutral and contains typically 3500 mg/L sulfate at flow rates up to 1500 gpm. New NPDES permits for discharges to the Monongahela River are required to meet a 250 mg/L limit requiring many industries to seek new and emerging technologies to meet this limit without incurring the cost and problematic waste streams associated with reverse osmosis (RO) and other membrane/exchange systems.

Due to the long retention time and large footprint required for microbiological reduction of sulfate, Sovereign is testing a “mostly” passive system that uses preferred carbon substrates and controlled environmental conditions that maximize the reduction process. The design will also enable simple waste and media change out. The initial pilot system has been tested and a second pilot phase is due to begin in October of 2013.