Acid mine drainage helps concrete research

Acid mine drainage from Northeast Pennsylvania is being researched for use in bendable concrete.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation is in partnership with the University of Michigan using local mine drainage within bendable concrete, reports the Times Tribune.

Robert Hughes, executive director, Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, said he hopes to create a partnership with the university on the research effort that “could lead to yet another way to reuse mine drainage here in Northeastern Pennsylvania for a beneficial use.”

Haoliang Wu, a PhD student at the University of Michigan, contacted Ethe astern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation with an interest in testing raw acid mine drainage samples in a laboratory with Professor Victor C Li to be used in a mixture for bendable concrete, which can withstand four times the amount of pressure than regular concrete.

“They want to be able to utilize it for their roads and bridges and highways out there,” Hughes said. “

“They don’t have any raw mine drainage in Michigan that meets the kind of chemistry and criteria that we have here in the water in Solomon Creek coming from the boreholes.”

Hughes said he is anxious to learn the results from the tests for the bendable concrete, which would help to prevent rust and cracking.

“If it becomes a composite mix at some point down the road, maybe there will be some use for it here in Pennsylvania,” he said.

“It might be a way for us to start looking at mine drainage as a commodity and as a product that could be a reusable resource as opposed to just being a pollutant to the streams.”

In the future, Hughes hopes to work with local colleges and universities that might also want to explore ways to reuse the mine-impacted water.

“In Pennsylvania, there are over 5,500 miles of streams impacted by abandoned mine drainage,” Hughes said. “We are trying to find solutions. This could be just another one in the back pocket of what we’re working on in the region to try to find ways to clean up our polluted streams.”

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