ISSN (print) 1995-2732
ISSN (online) 2412-9003


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Industrial waste waters rich in heavy metal ions and sulfates are a common phenomenon caused by oxidation of sulfide ore bodies and associated waste. Oxidized products enter a water body leading to a greater number of metal ions, a higher concentration of dissolved salts and a lower pH thus affecting the quality of water. As the environmental impact of sulfates is less detrimental than that of dissolved metals or acidity, the sulfate control has received little attention in many regulatory jurisdictions. It should be noted that the literature on sulfate removal from industrial waste waters is relatively sparse. However, a number of techniques are available to lower the concentration of dissolved ions, including sulfate ions. The sulfate control levels are based on the maximum permissible concentration (MPC) of approximately 100 mg/l for fisheries and on the secondary drinking water recommendations of approximately 500 mg/l. Methods of sulfate removal from industrial waste waters can be of two types: removal through semi-permeable membranes; removal by salt precipitation through ion exchange; permeable reactive barrier; biological recovery or insoluble mineral precipitates. This article offers an overview of the main sulfate removal options for industrial waste waters, as well as a feasibility study comparing the available techniques. The feasibility study suggests that among the techniques available today, biological methods and methods involving chemical reagents offer the most advanced options. An effective low-cost pre-treatment option for sulfates includes lime treatment, which is relevant if the sulfate concentration exceeds 2,000 mg/l. The most suitable option for sulfate removal will be dictated by site-specific conditions of a particular mining operation.


Removal options, acid mine waters, sulfate ions, reverse osmosis, chemical method, ion exchange, bio-removal.

Abdrakhmanova R.N., EvroSintez, Magnitogorsk, Russia, Nosov Magnitogorsk State Technical University, Magnitogorsk, Russia

Orekhova N.N., Nosov Magnitogorsk State Technical University, Magnitogorsk, Russia

Fischer H.-B., Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Weimar, Germany

Abdrakhmanov R.N., EvroSintez, Magnitogorsk, Russia

Nefedjev A.P., EvroSintez, Magnitogorsk, Russia

Kossov D.Y., EvroSintez, Moscow, Russia

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