The Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio de la Junta de Andalucía - Council of Environment and Territory of the Regional Government of Andalucía - participates, together with the University of Huelva and the company Sacyr Construcción, in the LIFE ETAD Project, which will allow the construction and implementation of a new water treatment plant for water deriving from acid mine drainage. The councillor, José Fiscal, has visited the site where works have already started in the beginning of November and continue for 3 to 6 months, depending on the volume of rain during winter. The LIFE ETAD Project counts on a 2,6 million Euros budget.

Fiscal highlighted the importance of a Project that will allow the resolution of the contamination problem that arouse from the intense activity of the mining basin in the province of Huelva. According to the  holder of the Environment portfolio, “it might mean a boost in the minimisation of the environmental impact of the mining industry. Besides, the validation of this treatment system will enable the exportation of this technology to other European territories”. Likewise, the council stated that the “Junta of Andalucía defends for years a sustainable mining exploration and the boost of the economy based on knowledge and the o I+d+i, together with this initiative is a new example of that”.

Presently, the field work that is being performed, consist of the earth movement prior to the beginning of the construction of the different parts that compose the station. This will comprise several deposits which contain a radioactive material that will allow water treatment the moment these completes an entire purification cycle. The design of the equipments has been thought to work by means of gravity, thus avoiding the consumption of electricity.

The station is located in Mina Concepción, county of Almonaster la Real in Huelva, a spot considered excellent to test this purification system, which will offer a solution for the contamination deriving from the once intense activity in the mining basin of Huelva and its effects which are to be observed mainly in the surface waters of the Odiel river, notwithstanding the degradation of the ground waters too.

The end of work means setting in motion the LIFE ETAD project, as well as monitoring and evaluation of the results of the purifying process, with the aim of determining the sustainability of the process to resolve the acid mine drainage issue. According to tests performed during the study phase, the purification level is adequate to its reuse for irrigation, for instance. 

The LIFE ETAD Project

The LIFE ETAD project follows a research performed with the aim of presenting possible solutions by means of passive treatment of the acid discharges.  The acid mine drainage consist of water that undergoes an alteration of its PH to acid levels in the locations where there was mining activity.

The Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio de la Junta de Andalucía is a partner in this project through the Agencia de Medio Ambiente y Agua - Environment and Water Agency - the entity in charge of the conception of this station. On its turn, the company Sacyr Construcción leads the project and is the partner responsible for the accomplishment of works, while The University of Huelva contributes with knowledge and research related to the passive purification process which will be tested for the first time in this project.

 

Source:  Technical Magazine of the Environment

Project goal

Implement an optimized design of a passive treatment system for acid mine drainage process, in a kind of IPF mining location.

Demonstrate by building and launching a full-scale plant of passive treatment technology...(+) 

Project progress

 First works of the experimental treatment plant LIFE ETAD have already executed; they have consisted in transplanting of the protected species plants (Erica andevalensis) present in the plot and that could be affected by the execution of the works.

 


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