Abstract

Acid mine drainage collected from the western decant in South Africa was treated in a series of small-scale laboratory experiments. 200 mL of the sample was poured into five 500 mL glass beakers using flocculants formed by mixing size-optimized 1.5 g of bentonite clay with 3.5 g saw dust and 1.0 g of Na3PO4 in triplicates (experiment A). Four similar sets of control experiments were conducted using the same amount of bentonite clay and saw dust with varying Na3PO4, contents in AMD treatment; the rationale being to determine the efficiency of Na3PO4 (experiments B, C and D). The results show that conductivity has an influence in the removal of the turbid materials. The removal efficiency of toxic metals using a flocculant containing 220 μm bentonite clay particle size and 0.012 or 0.25 M of Na3PO4 is higher than 96% when compared to that of the samples dosed with a flocculant containing 0.05 M Na3PO4, which is less than 91%. The flocculent also showed optimal removal efficiency of both turbid materials and toxic metals, i.e. removal efficiency within a range 96.5–99.3%. The flocculants containing 0.025 M Na3PO4 showed optimal removal efficiency of turbidity, colour, toxic metals and natural organic compounds.

Highlights

  • Coagulation.

  • Flocculation.

  • Precipitation.

  • Sedimentation.

  • Settling

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Supplementary data