Anglo American is currently building a new wastewater treatment plant at the coal mine to remove nitrate and selenium in the wastewater. GE’s 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. The 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. This will be the first installation of ABMet in Canada.
“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,” explained 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 gpm) 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 degrees Celsius (39.9 degrees Fahrenheit) and warmer without the need for any post treatment.
GE worked with Lockerbie Stanley and Stantec for construction and engineering on the project. The wastewater treatment plant is expected to enter commercial operation this summer.