Dynamics of Mn removal in an acid mine drainage treatment system over 13 years after installation

  • Elizabeth Crafton
  • Casey Pritchard
  • Lin Guo
  • John M. Senko
  • Teresa J. CutrightEmail author
Thematic Issue
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Environmental Earth Sciences on Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering


Acid mine drainage (AMD) from abandoned and active mines continues to pose a serious threat to the environment. Metal-rich fluids may emerge from abandoned mine works for hundreds of years, so the long-term performance of treatment systems must be evaluated to minimize the environmental impacts of AMD. A two-step process consisting of an aerobic wetland and a limestone bed is being used to treat coal mine-derived AMD in the Huff Run watershed of eastern Ohio, USA, and has been in operation for over 13 years. In 2002, the water was acidic (3.66 pH). From 2004 to 2014, water entering the treatment system had a pH of ~ 5.7 that increased to 7.25 by the time it exited the limestone bed. Since 2004, the effluent Al, Mn, and Fe concentrations have been between 0.05 and 0.12 mg/L, 0.04 and 0.25 mg/L, and 0.05 and 0.34 mg/L, respectively, with the majority of Fe and Al removal occurring in the wetland along with partial Mn removal. Subsequently, further Mn removal occurs as AMD flows through a limestone bed that was inoculated with a consortium of Mn(II)-oxidizing bacteria at the time of construction. An evaluation of historical system performance and current conditions indicate that effective metal removal has been sustained for over 13 years. While Mn(II)-oxidizing bacteria were most abundant in the limestone bed, they were detected throughout the system, indicating that indigenous Mn(II)-oxidizing microorganisms may be contributing to Mn removal well after the inoculation of the system.


Passive remediation Coal mine water Mn-oxidizing bacteria Wetland Limestone Drain 



This research was funded by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ID 1000002426). The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Maps were created using ArcGIS® software by Esri. ArcGIS® and ArcMap™ are the intellectual property of Esri and are used herein under license. Copyright © Esri. All rights reserved.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringThe University of AkronAkronUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geosciences, Department of BiologyThe University of AkronAkronUSA

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