Evaluating sulphate removal and identifying the bacterial community present in acid mine drainage treated with synthetic domestic wastewater sludge

Van den Berg, M. F. ; Botes, M. ; Slabbert, E. ; Cloete, T. E. (2016-07)

CITATION: Van den Berg, M. F. et al. 2016. Evaluating sulphate removal and identifying the bacterial community present in acid mine drainage treated with synthetic domestic wastewater sludge. Water SA, 42(3):475-482, doi:10.4314/wsa.v42i3.13.

The original publication is available at http://www.wrc.org.za

Article

Domestic wastewater sludge can serve as a carbon source in the passive biotic treatment of acid mine drainage (AMD) in microbial bioreactors to create anaerobic conditions for the removal of sulphate, chemical oxygen demand (COD) and pH neutralization. A synthetic medium simulating domestic wastewater sludge was used in AMD treatment in a ratio of 1:1 AMD: synthetic domestic wastewater sludge (SDWWS). Sulphate and COD removal were determined at different incubation temperatures and with and without a biofilm in the bioreactors. Sulphate and COD were removed by 60.8% and 96% within 26 d, after which a plateau was reached. Bacterial community analyses using next generation sequencing showed that Chlorobium spp. dominated at a relative percentage of 36% followed by Magnetospirillum spp. and Ornithobacterium spp. The effect of a resident biofilm in the bioreactors showed dominance of Chlorobium spp. at a relative percentage of 62% and removal of sulphates and COD at 96% and 58%, respectively, after 26 d. Incubation at 17–19°C reduced sulphates by only 10% and COD by 12% after 17 d, after which a plateau was reached. Magnetospirillum spp. was the dominate organism at the end of this trial.

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