Assessment of the Suitability of Mine Water Treated with Pervious Concrete for Irrigation Use

  • Ayanda N. ShabalalaEmail author
  • Stephen O. Ekolu
Technical Article


In water scarce countries, the treatment and re-use of polluted mine water can reduce water shortage problem. In this study, the possible use of pervious concrete to treat Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) for irrigation of agricultural crops, was investigated. Pervious concrete mixtures consisting of 6.7 mm granite aggregate and plain portland cement CEM I 52.5R with or without 30% fly ash were prepared and used to conduct column studies on AMD. The AMD types used in the study were obtained from abandoned coal (TDB) and gold (WZ) mines. Physico-chemical parameters of water including the pH, electrical conductivity (EC), Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), along with element concentrations were analysed. Also the Sodium Adsorption Ratio (SAR), Soluble Sodium Percentage (SSP), and Kelly’s ratio (KR) of the treated AMD were calculated and compared against the water quality criteria for irrigation use. Results showed that treated TDB water was unsuitable for irrigation use owing to its high TDS, EC, SSP and KP values, even though its metal concentrations were reduced to satisfactory levels. Conversely, treated WZ water gave low SAR, SSP and KP indices, as well as satisfactory metal concentrations, indicating its suitability for use as irrigation water. The study shows that pervious concrete can be effective in treating AMD for irrigation use, but further research is needed to control high alkalinity and salinity levels in the treated water.


Acid mine drainage Irrigation Kelly’s ratio Pervious concrete Sodium adsorption ratio Water quality 


Se investigó el posible uso de concreto permeable para tratar el drenaje ácido de minas (AMD) para el riego de cultivos agrícolas. Se prepararon mezclas de concreto permeable que consistían en agregado de granito de 6.7 mm y cemento Portland liso CEM I 52.5R (CEM I), con o sin 30% de cenizas volantes (30% de AF), en estudios de columna con AMD. El AMD utilizado en este estudio se obtuvo de minas abandonadas de carbón (TDB) y de oro (WZ). Las concentraciones de metales en TDB tratada o WZ generalmente se redujeron a niveles satisfactorios para el riego, aunque el concreto permeable no influyó significativamente en la conductividad eléctrica, los sólidos disueltos totales, el porcentaje de sodio soluble o la proporción de Kelly. El concreto permeable de CEM I aumentó las concentraciones de Cr6+ por encima de los límites aceptables para el riego, pero el uso de un 30% de hormigón de FA redujo los niveles de Cr6+ a los límites permisibles. Se encontró que el concreto permeable es más adecuado para tratar la AMD con bajas concentraciones de álcalis, como la WZ, para producir agua para el riego.



The research work presented in this paper was financially supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa, IPRR Grant No. 96800 and the University of Mpumalanga (UMP). The authors are grateful for the support given by NRF and UMP.

Supplementary material

10230_2019_633_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (172 kb)
Supplementary material 1: Supplemental Figure S-1: Changes in Kelly’s ratio with time during the column experiment. (PDF 171 kb)
10230_2019_633_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (173 kb)
Supplementary material 2: Supplemental Figure S-2: Change in concentration of sodium soluble percentage with time during the experiment. (PDF 173 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of JohannesburgAuckland ParkSouth Africa
  2. 2.University of MpumalangaMbombelaSouth Africa

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