GE Technology to Help Remove Toxic Metals from Wastewater at Canadian Coal Mine

GE Anglo American Advanced Biological Metals Removal Process nitrate selenium

The project will be the first installation of the ABMet technology in Canada

Anglo American has selected GE’s Advanced Biological Metals Removal Process (ABMet) technology to remove nitrate and selenium from wastewater discharge at its Peace River Coal Trend Mine in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, Canada. The project will represent the first installation of ABMet in Canada.

The coal mine has been operating since 2006, and new regulations prompted Anglo American to build a new wastewater treatment plant to remove nitrate and selenium in the wastewater. Currently under construction, the new facility is turnkey, providing a flexible solution for heavy metal removal. By using GE’s ABMet technology, Anglo American will meet British Columbia’s stringent standards for selenium and nutrient discharge limits.

ABMet is a patented biological water treatment system that uses naturally occurring microbes to reduce the amounts of selenium and other metals that can escape in discharge waters from coal mines and power plants. GE’s ABMet process involves running wastewater through a biologically active filter, which is “seeded” with naturally occurring microbes that target selenium and other potentially toxic metals. The technology enables the metal to be captured and removed from the wastewater stream.

“Before selecting GE’s ABMet technology for our new wastewater treatment plant, we commissioned a pilot study and competitive tender with multiple vendors. Ultimately, GE presented a turnkey water treatment solution allowing us to achieve compliance with nitrate and selenium discharge limits,” said Brendan Crisp, specialist project engineer at Anglo American’s Peace River operations. “It also will be used as a demonstration plant to assess performance and develop the criteria for additional wastewater treatment plants at our operations.”

The new wastewater treatment plant has been designed to treat 24 L/s (380 gal per minute) of flow and to meet nitrate and selenium effluent targets. The targets will reduce nitrates from 85 mg/L to 3 mg/L and selenium from 130 µg/L to 5 µg/L. The system is designed to achieve these limits at water temperatures of 4.4°C (39.9°F) and warmer without the need for any post treatment.

GE worked in cooperation with Stantec for construction and engineering on the project. The wastewater treatment plant is expected to enter commercial operation in the summer of 2014.

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