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ENVIRONMENT: GE technology removes selenium from coal mining wastewater

TREVOSE, Pennsylvania – Anglo American has selected GE’s Advanced Biological Metals removal process (ABMet) technology to remove nitrate and selenium from wastewater discharge at its Peace River Coal Trend mine in Tumbler Ridge, BC....



TREVOSE, Pennsylvania – Anglo American has selected GE’s Advanced Biological Metals removal process (ABMet) technology to remove nitrate and selenium from wastewater discharge at its Peace River Coal Trend mine in Tumbler Ridge, BC. This is represent the first installation of ABMet in Canada.

The coal mine has been operating since 2006, and new regulations prompted Anglo American to build a new wastewater treatment. Currently under construction, the new facility is turnkey, providing a flexible solution for heavy metal removal. By using GE’s ABMet technology, Anglo American will meet British Columbia’s stringent standards for selenium and nutrient discharge limits.

ABMet is a patented biological water treatment system that uses naturally occurring microbes to reduce the amounts of selenium and other metals that can escape in discharge waters from coal mines and power plants. The ABMet process involves running wastewater through a biologically active filter, which is “seeded” with naturally occurring microbes that target selenium and other potentially toxic metals. While selenium is typically difficult to remove from wastewater, ABMet enables the metal to be captured and removed from the wastewater stream.

The new wastewater treatment plant has been designed to treat 24 L/s of flow and to meet effluent targets. The targets will reduce nitrates from 85 mg/l to 3 mg/l and selenium from 130 µg/l to 5 µg/l. The system is designed to achieve these limits at water temperatures of 4.4°C and warmer without the need for any post treatment.

GE worked in co-operation with Stantec for construction and engineering on the project. The wastewater treatment plant is expected to enter commercial operation in the summer of 2014.

The simple, reliable and low-energy ABMet technology can achieve up to 99% removal of selenium and can discharge treated effluent containing 5 ppb or less of selenium, depending on wastewater makeup. Click here for more information about the ABMet technology.


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