Plant Waste and Environmental Considerations

Groppo, John G. ; Webb-Groppo, Bonnie
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 66
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1991
INTRODUCTION The first portion of this chapter is concerned primarily with the contamination aspects of fine coal cleaning that include both the solids and water discharged as waste products after coal preparation. Topics include characteristics of the water and solids, changes that occur to both of these phases during use and after impoundment, as well as the impact that these changes have on unit operations and the environment. Attention is also given to the formation of acid mine drainage and treatment options that may facilitate reuse of the water. The second part of the chapter analyzes the problem of air contaminants from coal preparation plants including analysis of air pollutants and control methods. An overview of air quality regulations is also presented; most provisions have little or no applicability to coal preparation plant operation but are presented to provide an understanding of end-user constraints. The final part of the chapter emphasizes the long-range problem of refuse disposal and control. An overview of characterization, maintenance, and control of the refuse area is presented, as well as design guidelines. A brief review of stability analysis procedures is also included. PREPARATION PLANT WATER Characteristics of Makeup Water for Coal Preparation There are few specific rules governing the quality of makeup water used in coal preparation processes.'" It is generally accepted, however, that the solid matter content should be less than 5%. The solids concentration in plant makeup water typically varies between 0.25 to 0.9 lb per gal (30 to 110 g/L) and may reach concentrations as high as 1.7 lb per gal (200 g/L). The water used in coal preparation is usually obtained from one or more of the following sources: public supplies, rivers and streams, canals, mine water, and wells. In most cases, water is obtained at the lowest cost including any necessary treatment. A major portion of the recirculated water is clarified by thickeners and settling ponds to remove fine coal and clay particles. Sufficient water is generally available to meet the needs of coal preparation in most areas. It has been estimated that approximately 65 to 70% of the makeup water used in a coal preparation plant comes from surface sources. It is important to note that a variety of substances are commonly found in natural water supplies, whatever the available source may be (Table 11-1). Excessive concentrations of some of those substances can have an affect on plant performance; the effect of specific contaminants on unit operations will be discussed
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