In this study, two mixtures of municipal compost, limestone and, optionally, zero-valent iron were assessed in two column experiments on acid mine treatment. The effluent solution was systematically analysed throughout the experiment and precipitates from both columns were withdrawn for scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray diffractometry analysis and, from the column containing zero-valent iron, solid digestion and sequential extraction analysis. The results showed that waters were cleaned of arsenic, metals and acidity, but chemical and morphological analysis suggested that metal removal was not due predominantly to biogenic sulphide generation but to pH increase, i.e. metal (oxy)hydroxide and carbonate precipitation. Retained arsenic and metal removal were clearly associated to co-precipitation with and/or sorption on iron and aluminum (oxy)hydroxides. An improvement on the arsenic removal efficiency was achieved when the filling mixture contained zero-valent iron. Values of arsenic concentrations were then always below 10 μg/L.
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