BCRs are engineered treatment systems that use an organic substrate to drive microbial and chemical reactions to reduce concentrations of metals, acidity, and sulfate in MIWs. While this chemistry is fairly well understood, much has been learned over the last 20 years on how to improve the effectiveness, maintain hydraulic permeability, and ensure longevity of the systems.

Biochemical Reactors for Treating Mining-Influenced Water

Mining influenced water (MIW) includes aqueous wastes generated by ore extraction and processing, as well as mine drainage and tailings runoff. MIW handling, storage, and disposal is a major environmental problem in mining districts throughout the U.S and around the world. Biochemical reactors (BCRs) are engineered treatment systems that use an organic substrate to drive microbial and chemical reactions to reduce concentrations of metals, acidity, and sulfate in MIWs. The ITRC Biochemical Reactors for Mining-Influenced Water technology guidance (BCR-1, 2013) and this associated Internet-based training provide an in-depth examination of BCRs; a decision framework to assess the applicability of BCRs; details on testing, designing, constructing and monitoring BCRs; and real world BCR case studies with diverse site conditions and chemical mixtures. At the end of this training, you should be able to complete the following activities:

For reference during the training class, participants should have a copy of Figure 2-1, decision flow process for determining the applicability of a biochemical reactor. It is also available as a 1-page PDF at http://www.cluin.org/conf/itrc/BCR/ITRC-BCRforMIW-DecisionFlow.pdf.

Participants should also be familiar with the ITRC technology and regulatory guidance for Mining-Waste Treatment Technology Selection (MW-1, 2010) and associated Internet-based training that helps regulators, consultants, industry, and stakeholders in selecting an applicable technology, or suite of technologies, which can be used to remediate mining sites.

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