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Biological Water Treatment on Mine and Industrial Sites 

Author: Corné Pretorius, Director of Mine Water Management, Ensero Solutions

Corné Pretorius

This article is part 3 of a 3-part series on biological water treatment for mine impacted water. It is a reference document for mine planners and engineers to understand where biological treatment options have been employed by Ensero to meet the needs of our mining and industrial clients.






Key Words: Biological Treatment, In Situ Pit Lake, In Situ Underground Mine Pool, In Situ Groundwater Injection, Constructed Wetland Treatment Systems, Biochemical Reactor, Gravel Bed Bioreactor, Passive Treatment, Semi-passive Treatment, Mine-Impacted Water


The application of Biological (Bio) approaches to water treatment predates the Industrial Age and goes back as far as ancient civilizations. Today engineers and scientists continuously innovate and improve Bio Treatment ensuring that it remains a cost-effective part of the technology toolbox for mine operations, closure planning, and site remediation. With application options such as passive or semi-passive, ex situ or in situ, Bio treatment approaches allow mine owners to implement a treatment strategy that can be specifically tailored to the site needs. 


In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we introduced the various kinds of Bio systems and how to determine if a Bio treatment system is right for your site. This article provides real-world examples of Ensero’s Bio treatment experience.


Over the past 5 years, we’ve performed dozens of water treatment options assessments as part of overall water management strategies for mines and other industrial sites. During the past year alone, we’ve worked with 3 of the 5 largest mining companies in the world to address water treatment challenges with innovative and cost-effective solutions.


Our biotreatment technology expertise is deeper than merely offering equipment and/or technology and reaches down to the fundamental molecular science level where we characterize and control the microbial performance and health of treatment systems at the genomic level.


We’ve also recommended and implemented physical and chemical water treatment solutions, but the examples highlighted in the table below are Bio treatment applications. The example case studies summarized below includes constituents of interest (COI), site characteristics, and site owners needs over a wide spectrum of flowrates and in-situ volumes to help you identify if a Bio treatment might be a solution for your site.



Table 1. Biological Water Treatment Examples


Why does this matter?


Bio treatment approaches are often a key tool that will allow mine and industrial site owners to implement more cost-effective and environmentally friendly treatment approaches that can be specifically tailored to the site’s needs. If any of the COIs, site conditions, or owners needs outlined in this document describe your project, talk to Ensero about your Bio treatment options.


Missed the first two articles on this topic? Find them here.

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