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Geochemist’s Workbench Workshop

Using GWB to Model Mine Drainage Geochemistry and Treatment


Brent Means | U.S. Office of Sur­face Min­ing
Tom Meuze­laar | Life Cycle Geo LLC

Course Description

This 8‑hour work­shop focus­es on using Geochemist’s Work­bench (GWB) to mod­el and eval­u­ate mine drainage geo­chem­istry and treat­ment. The work­shop starts by using GWB to illus­trate the chem­i­cal con­trols on key con­t­a­m­i­nants in coal mine drainage. Next, datasets col­lect­ed from both mine dis­charges and active and pas­sive treat­ment sys­tems in Penn­syl­va­nia are used to illus­trate the prac­ti­cal use of the GSS, Act2, and React GWB mod­ules to per­form eval­u­a­tions and pre­dic­tions.

It is impor­tant to note this work­shop will use datasets from sev­er­al of the mining/treatment sites includ­ed in the mul­ti-day post-con­fer­ence tour. While not required, attend­ing both events will pro­vide a thor­ough under­stand­ing of the geo­chem­i­cal con­trols and strate­gies used in active and pas­sive treat­ment sys­tems.

Learning Goals

The learn­ing goals of the work­shop are to: (1) Intro­duce atten­dees to the geo­chem­istry of coal mine drainage treat­ment & (2) Pro­vide prac­ti­cal exam­ples of how to use the GWB mod­el to eval­u­ate datasets and devel­op pre­dic­tions.

GWB Modules and Mine Water Topics

  • GSS Mod­ule (the geochemist’s spread­sheet)
    • Import mine pool water qual­i­ty dataset from Excel
    • Man­age water qual­i­ty datasets
    • Cal­cu­late sat­u­ra­tion index, chem­i­cal activ­i­ty, and oth­er chem­i­cal and phys­i­cal para­me­ters for datasets
    • Select data and launch Act2 and React to pop­u­late the input
  • Act2 Mod­ule (sol­u­bil­i­ty & redox-pH dia­grams)
    • Cre­ate dia­grams to review iron, man­ganese, and car­bon­ate geo­chem­istry
    • Learn how spe­ci­a­tion affects sol­u­bil­i­ty
    • Plot mine pool WQ data on the dia­grams to iden­ti­fy sol­u­bil­i­ty con­trols on iron and alka­lin­i­ty con­cen­tra­tions
    • Plot Biore­ac­tor efflu­ent data on dia­grams to mon­i­tor per­for­mance and pre­dict car­bon replen­ish­ment
  • React Mod­ule (cal­cu­late spe­ci­a­tion in solu­tion, reac­tion process­es)
    • Per­form reac­tion mod­el­ing to pre­dict efflu­ent alka­lin­i­ty from lime­stone-based pas­sive treat­ment sys­tems and hydrat­ed lime treat­ment plants
    • Pre­dict chem­i­cal con­sump­tion of using NaOH and Ca(OH)2 to treat mine drainage
    • Mod­el the kinet­ics of decar­bon­a­tion for var­i­ous aer­a­tion devices
    • Eval­u­ate the effect of decar­bon­a­tion on treat­ment costs and efflu­ent qual­i­ty
    • Mod­el the kinet­ics of homo and het­eroge­nous iron oxi­da­tion to size a chem­i­cal reac­tor
    • Per­form a mix­ing mod­el to pre­dict the effect of treat­ed efflu­ent on the receiv­ing stream

Who Should Attend?

Any­one with a strong inter­est in geo­chem­istry and treat­ment of mine drainage. A back­ground in geo­chem­istry or expe­ri­ence in mine water treat­ment is pre­ferred.  

What is Required?

Atten­dees must have a lap­top with GWB loaded before attend­ing the work­shop. Atten­dees will be emailed instruc­tions on how to down­load and install the soft­ware with a tem­po­rary license pri­or to the work­shop.

Presenter Details

Brent Means is a Hydrol­o­gist with the U.S. Office of Sur­face Min­ing and has over two decades of expe­ri­ence in eval­u­at­ing the geo­chem­istry of mine pools and treat­ment process­es. He has par­tic­i­pat­ed on numer­ous active and pas­sive treat­ment design teams and was award­ed the Depart­ment of Interior’s Envi­ron­men­tal Achieve­ment Award for his work in devel­op­ing geo­chem­i­cal strate­gies to reduce treat­ment costs by $US700,000 per year at five large mine pool pump and treat­ment sys­tems.

Tom Meuze­laar is Prin­ci­pal Con­sul­tant and Founder at Life Cycle Geo, a con­sult­ing firm that spe­cial­izes in geo­chem­istry work, includ­ing build­ing pre­dic­tive water qual­i­ty mod­els using tools such as The Geochemist’s Work­bench. Tom is a for­mer com­mer­cial dis­trib­u­tor of the GWB soft­ware and has taught more the 35 geo­chem­i­cal mod­el­ing work­shops all over the world to acad­e­mia and indus­try. He works pre­dom­i­nant­ly in the min­ing indus­try sup­port­ing clients with per­mit­ting, oper­a­tional sup­port, and clo­sure work. LCG reg­u­lar­ly part­ners with hydro­ge­ol­o­gy and water treat­ment firms to sup­port var­i­ous aspects of aban­doned mine lands mine drainage reme­di­a­tion work.