Municipal Biosolids Capillary Barrier Covers for Reactive Mine Tailings

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  • This project investigated the use of municipal biosolids as a low-cost, low-permeability material in capillary barrier covers (CBC) for reactive mine tailings. The biosolids exhibited low saturated hydraulic conductivities (k = 4.21 x 10 -7 cm/s @ e = 4.01) and an air-entry value of approximately 400 kPa. During laboratory column testing, biosolids layers within the CBCs remained highly saturated, acting as a barrier to oxygen diffusion and water flux. Pore water samples in the tailings of the monolayer cover show elevated concentrations of nitrate, potassium, and sodium relative to CBC columns. No significant change in pH was observed in any of the columns. Numerical models showed reduction in water flux at the tailings surface by 98% and a reduction in oxygen diffusion by up to three orders of magnitude when using biosolids CBCs relative to uncovered tailings. Cover function was not significantly impacted by the characteristics of the underlying tailings.

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  • Copyright © 2019 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2019


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