Rediscovered Technology Makes Mine Drainage Treatment More Effective, Less Costly
Monday’s Environmental Issues Forum hosted by the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee featured a presentation on 17th Century trompe technology which promises to make today’s passive mine drainage treatment systems smaller, more effective and less costly.
Bruce Leavitt, a consulting hydrogeologist, and Tim Danehy, BioMost, Inc. which has been involved in the design and installation of more than 230 passive mine drainage treatment systems, gave a presentation to the Committee on a water-powered air compression trompe technology which helps aerate mine drainage during the treatment process making it more effective.
The Forum was introduced by Committee Chair Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-Venango). Click Here to watch of video of the introduction.
Bruce Leavitt, trompe designer and developer, provided a technical presentation on how a trompe air compressor uses mine water to compress air without any outside power and without any moving parts; how the compressed air can be used to oxygenate the mine water to accelerate iron oxidation; and how to identify mine waters that can benefit from aeration.
Tim Danehy, described how he helped install and test trompe technology in three mine drainage systems in Allegheny, Clearfield and Fayette counties and now the technology has increased the efficiency of passive treatment, reduces the use of chemical additives in the process by as much as 40 percent and reduces the size and cost of installing passive treatment systems.
He noted because the technology does not require power, aeration systems can be installed in more isolated locations and for applications as varied as aquaculture and lake aeration.
In June a demonstration event held by the federal Office of Surface Mining in Findlay Township, Allegheny County, provided a hands-on tour of a full-scale operating trompe.
Click Here to watch a video from the June event.
The trompe passive aeration technology was developed under an Applied Science grant from the federal Office of Surface Mining and installed at the North Fork Passive Treatment System with the support of the Montour Run Watershed Association.
Partners in the Allegheny County project included: the federal Office of Surface Mining National Technology Transfer Team Applied Science Program - TROMPE funding; Watershed Cooperative Agreement Program – Phase 2 system funding; the Department of Environmental Protection Growing Greener Program - Phase 2 system funding; Allegheny County Airport Authority (landowner support); Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Western Regional Office (Phase 1 system installation); Montour Run Watershed Association (Phase 2 passive system grant admin.; volunteer efforts including wetland planting); Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds (O&M funding; monitoring support); BioMost, Inc. (Phase 2 passive system design & construction oversight; Trompe installation assistance); Quality Aggregates Inc. (Phase 2 passive system construction); Stream Restoration Inc. (non-profit) (education/outreach; Trompe grant admin.)
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