Date of Graduation
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) is an environmental legacy of mining operations that forms when sulfide minerals within the earth are exposed to water and oxygen and has significant harmful effects on the environment when left untreated. Researchers at West Virginia University found large concentrations of REE/CMs (Rare Earth Elements and Critical Minerals) in AMD treatment sludge. REE/CM consist of a group of 17 elements that are crucial to the production of advanced technologies. Due to an extremely low domestic supply of REE/CM in the United States, domestic sources and production of REE/CM are being investigated. This research investigates geotextile design and performance for the dewatering of sludge produced from AMD for REE/CM production.
Multiple geotextile fabrics were investigated in column filtration tests to select a fabric capable of capturing the sludge particles containing sizes of 8.5x10-5mm and to analyze polymer dosage effects on dewatering and filtration. Small-scale performance testing was completed using double-lined geobags to analyze and predict large scale dewatering of the composite geotextile system. Consolidation testing was performed following ASTM standards on the sludge to investigate the compressibility and dewatering effects of the sludge under loading.
Using decision tree analysis from column filtration testing results, it was concluded that the Tencate 1100N non-woven geotextile proved to be the most robust fabric with the highest filtration efficiencies for all filtration and drainage conditions (>92%). Analysis also showed that the Specific Resistance to Filtration (SRF) optimum polymer dosage should be used for field operations as it produced sludge with the best combination of filtration, hydraulic conductivity (1.0E-4 cm/sec), and dewatering. Results from the small-scale performance testing indicated that the 1100N nonwoven geotextile is capable of filtering solids on a field-scale even with low incoming solids concentrations (
Nasiadka, Cory J., "Geotextile Design and Performance for Dewatering of Rare Earth Element Sludge Produced from Acid Mine Drainage" (2022). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 11276.