Biosorption of Metal Contaminants Using Immobilized Biomass-Field Studies
Description:The U.S. Bureau of Mines has developed porous beads containing immobilized biological materials such as sphagnum peat moss for extracting metal contaminants from waste waters. The beads, designated as BIO-FIX beads, have removed toxic metals from over 100 waters in laboratory tests. These waters include acid mine drainage (AMD) water from mining sites, metallurgical and chemical industry waste water, and contaminated ground water. Following the laboratory studies, cooperative field tests were conducted to evaluate the metal adsorption properties of the beads in column and low-maintenance circuits, determine bead stability in varied climatic situations, and demonstrate the beads' potential as a viable waste water treatment technique. Field results indicated that BIO-FIX beads readily adsorbed cadmium, lead, and other toxic metals from dilute waters; effluents frequently met drinking water standards and other discharge criteria. The beads exhibited excellent handling characteristics in both column and low-maintenance circuits, and continued to extract metal ions after repeated loading-elution cycles. Based on laboratory and field data, cost evaluations for using BIO-FIX technology to treat two AMD waters were prepared. Operating costs for BIO-FIX treatment, which ranged from $1.40 to $2.30 per 1,000 gal of water treated, were comparable with chemical precipitation costs.
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