IIT Guwahati develops method to mitigate Acid Mine Drainage in coal mines of northeast India
acid mine drainage

New Delhi: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati have developed a new method to mitigate Acid Mine Drainage in the coal mines of northeast India and have claimed it to be the first study to demonstrate bioremediation.

In the research, published in the noted Chemical Engineering Journal, Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) refers to the acidic wastewater generated from coal mines (or any polymetallic mines) containing high amounts of sulfate, iron and various toxic heavy metals.

According to officials, the research provides an efficient sustainable treatment approach to mitigate AMD pollution while addressing the long-term operational sustainability issues encountered in Constructed Wetlands (CW) receiving AMD.

Furthermore, a biochemical mechanism has been developed to understand the functioning of different fundamental processes that co-occur in CW.

The researchers studied the season-wise variation (monsoon, pre-monsoon and post-monsoon) of AMD discharge in Northeastern Coalfields (NEC). They conducted a laboratory-scale study in which preliminary findings demonstrated their potential for field-scale applications at the NEC for direct mine drainage and provide an effective sustainable solution for the mitigation of AMD pollution.

Saswati Chakraborty, Professor at Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Guwahati, said, “The preliminary findings from this research propose an effective strategy to manage the extremely acidic AMD from the NEC, which remains to be a challenging source of water pollution and environmental contamination due to mining activity in this region.

The researchers claimed that implementation of this technology will ensure ecosystem restoration thereby benefitting all the stakeholders at large.

“The generation of AMD is a perpetual environmental issue from the NEC and to address this concern, we investigated the potential bioremediation approach using nature-based technology – CWs and obtained some very promising results which can be further implemented at field-scale applications by coal mining industries,” Shweta Singh, a research scholar at IIT Guwahati said.

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