The Cause And Effects Of Acid Mine Drainage Essay

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The Cause and Effects of Acid Mine Drainage INTRODUCTION      Imagine going fishing on a cool Autumn day, the trees are all different shades of orange, brown and red and the birds are singing their beautiful songs, but their is a serious problem because when you arrive at the river all plant and animal life are gone. This is by no means a recent phenomenon. This is due to the effects of acid rock drainage (ARD). This is a problem that has been occurring since ancient times, but it was not until the 1800's when fast growing industrialization and heavy mining that it caught alot of attention.      Acid rock drainage is the term used to describe leachate, seepage, or drainage that has been…show more content…
Each of the chemicals in acid mine drainage is toxic to fish and aquatic insects in moderate concentrations. At real high concentrations all plant life is killed.      "Underground mines that are likely to result in ARD are those where mining is located above the water table. (Kelly 1988)" Most of the mines are also located in mountainous terrain. "Underground workings usually result in a ground water table that has been lowered significantly and permanently. (Kelly 1988)" Mining also helps in the breaking of rock exposing more surface area to oxidation. OTHER SOURCES OF ARD      ARD is not necessarily confined to these mining activities. "Any process, natural or anthropogenic, that exposes sulfide- bearing rock to air and water will cause it to occur. (Ellison & Hutchison)" There are examples of natural ARD where springs produce acidic water. These are found near outcrops of sulfide-bearing rock, but not all exposing sulfide rock will result in ARD formation. "Acid drainage will not occur if sulfide minerals are nonreactive, the rock contains sufficient alkaline material to neutralize any acid produced, or the climate is arid and there is not adequate rainfall infiltration to cause leakage. (Ellison & Hutchison 1992)" CHEMISTRY      "The most important factor in
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