ACARP ACARP ACARP ACARP
Open Cut

Mine Water Quality - Spread of Blue-Green Algae

Open Cut » Environment

Published: March 08Project Number: C14051

Get ReportAuthor: Larelle Fabbro, L Unwin, LJ Barnett, L Young, N Orr | Central Qld University

This project was undertaken  to address improvement in water quality of pit and recycled mine waters in the Bowen Basin and included a detailed study of issues related to the toxicity and management of blue-green algae. The work was presented in three sections.

PART A - USE OF AQUAPONICS FOR IMPROVEMENT OF DRINKING WATER QUALITY

Aquaponic units (floating pontoons containing selected plants) were installed and tested in Calverts Dam, Norwich Park Mine, as part of a collaborative research project between BMA, ACARP and CQU. These units were designed to reduce macro and micro nutrients required for the growth of blue-green algae.

Tomato, silverbeet and basil plants grew successfully in the floating pontoons, even during summer. These plants removed compounds from the water column including phosphorus and molybdenum, nutrients required for the growth of nitrogen fixing bluegreen algae.

Trace elements were analysed and compared between aquaponic plants and fruit, and between harvested aquaponic tomato fruit and purchased table-market fruit. Molybdenum was present in higher concentrations in the tomato plants than in the silverbeet. In addition, molybdenum concentrations were marginally higher in the tomato fruit than the tomato plants. Molybdenum concentration in the aquaponic tomato fruit was much higher than that in the purchased table-market fruit.

PART B - INVESTIGATION OF BLUE-GREEN ALBAL POPULATIONS IN PITWATER AND THE USE OF MIXING AS A CONTROL TECHNIQUE

This project sought to address the improvement of water quality and management of problems associated with blue-green algae and the reuse and recycling of pit and plant waters. It sought to identify, where possible, the wider water quality elements that selected for the dominance of blue-green algae at mine sites. In addition and more importantly, it sought to isolate those factors associated with toxin producing blooms and investigate mixing and other techniques available.

Blue-green algal blooms were detected in relatively clear alkaline pitwater. An algal bloom is defined as a cell concentration exceeding 15,000 cells mL-1 (Bowling 1992).

Mixing of various pitwater sources in a shallow dam can result in changing conditions within the receiving environment. Critical modification occurs in various physical and chemical variables,- in particular the turbidity and subsequently the blue-green algal species assemblage. The increased exposure of the surface layer to light and ultraviolet radiation may also facilitate toxin breakdown. This technique may prove a useful control measure with respect to C. raciborskii blooms within the Bowen basin as this toxin producing species dominates in stratified water columns of

low turbidity.

PART C - ASSESSMENT OF IMMULOGOGICAL TECHNIQUES FOR THE DETERMINATION OF HUMAN AND ANIMAL IMPACTS RESULTING FROM CONTACT WITH CONTAMINATED WATERS

The ability of cyanobacterial species to contaminate water sources is quite well documented, as is the capacity for different species/strains of these micro-organisms to produce toxins that may affect those that ingest or come in contact with these waters. As part of a larger study to address mechanisms to improve water quality of pit and recycled mine waters in the Bowen Basin, a scoping study was performed to assess the suitability of immunological assays to a) detect immunostimulatory agents present in mine water samples and b) shed light on the nature of the immune effect that was elicited by such factors on human and animal cells that may be exposed to these waters.

Findings from the application of two tetrazolium-based in-vitro assays  suggest that the MTT Proliferation Assay, a colourimetric technique used to assess bioactivity in cells of humans and other animals, was successful in identifying water samples that have the capacity to potentiate immune responses. In addition, the NBT Test yielded results that confirmed that water samples collected from a variety of sites contained factors that promoted oxidative burst responses in human and bovine blood cells. The NBT Test was originally proposed since it had the potential to be modified for use in field tests. Results from this study suggest however that this test is not appropriate for such a purpose, as water samples collected from the field contain a variety of micro-organisms that render this test unsuitable for the intended application in this work.

In contrast, the MTT Assay appears to be suitable for laboratory detection of potential immune effects that may develop from contact with contaminated waters. Specifically, this study found that at least two sources of water samples require further investigation with regard to their immunostimulatory properties. Recommendations that arise from this work include further investigation of the nature of the stimulation response obtained from mine waters, together with a more detailed study of the mechanism of such responses. Information gathered by investigation of these two parameters will assist stakeholders to develop strategies to better manage the quality of water sources, particularly those that are associated with direct human contacts.

Underground

Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.

Recently Completed Projects

C27039True Triaxial Strength Of Coal Measure Rocks And Its Impact On Roadway Stability And Coal Burst Assessment

Rocks in the ground are subject to a range of stresses. The stresses...

C3063Underground Vehicle Design Standards And Statutory Implications

The Australian underground diesel vehicle fleet has evolved since di...

C3064Conveyor Belting And Lagging Shear Characteristics - Drive Drum Slip

The primary aim of this project was to investigate the relationsh...

Underground

Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C29021Assessing The Impact Of Consecutive Night Shifts On Night-Time Alertness, Daytime Sleep And Timing Of The Circadian System

In the Australian coal mining industry, most guidelines for managing...

C33037Quantifying Recharge To Groundwater Systems In The NSW Coalfields (Sydney, Gunnedah And Gloucester Basins)

The purpose of this project was to estimate the rate of diffuse rec...

C26029Geological Controls On Fluorine And Phosphorus In Bowen Basin Coals

Increasing global restrictions on fluorine in product coal prompted ...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C27064Dry Beneficiation Using FGX And X-Ray Sorters

Conventional dry processing methods engage a single beneficiation de...

C26010Multi-Sloped Screening Efficiency With Changing Strokes, Frequencies, Feed Solids And Feed Rates-Pilot Plant Study

Optimising multi-sloped screens is often described as an art and the...

C28059Impact Of Water Quality In Coal Handling And Preparations Plants

The objective of this project was to deliver a concise reference do...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C23052Novel Stone Dust Looping Process For Ventilation Air Methane Abatement

This multi‐phase project is concerned with the mitigation of m...

C27054Optimisation Of A Thermal Flow Reversal Reactor For Ventilation Air Methane Mitigation

Ventilation air methane (VAM) generally accounts for 50-85% of the t...

C28076Selective Absorption Of Methane By Ionic Liquids (SAMIL) - Phase 2 Demonstration In A Packed Bed Reactor

An alternative approach to high temperature oxidation of ventilation...

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community

NERDDC

National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook

NERDDC