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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 30 No. 2, p. 608-616
    Received: Oct 20, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): messington@utk.edu


Fly Ash and Lime-Stabilized Biosolid Mixtures in Mine Spoil Reclamation

  1. D.E. Abbott,
  2. M.E. Essington *,
  3. M.D. Mullen and
  4. J.T. Ammons
  1. Dep. of Plant and Soil Sciences, Institute of Agriculture, The Univ. of Tennessee, P.O. Box 1071, Knoxville, TN 37901-1071


The use of large quantities of neutral coal fly ash (NFA) may be facilitated by co-application with a lime-stabilized biosolid (LSB) for the reclamation of acid mine spoil (AMS). Although NFA may not aid in the mitigation of acid drainage, questions concerning the leachability and mineralogy of native and NFA- and LSB-born metals must be addressed. In this study, the potential long-term influence of LSB and NFA on AMS leachate chemistry and trace element mineralogy was evaluated using laboratory weathering and selective dissolution techniques. The application of LSB at a rate sufficient to neutralize the potential acidity of the AMS increased leachate pH from approximately 3 to 7.5 for the duration of the study. Fly ash rates (1×, 1.5×, and 2× LSB rate) did not affect leachate pH. The dominant electrolytes in all leachates were Ca and SO4, the concentrations of which were mirrored by solution electrical conductivity (EC). Leachate concentrations of Al, Fe, Mn, K, Cu, Ni, and Zn were significantly reduced by LSB application, whereas concentrations of Ca, SO4, Mg, Cl, F, B, and P were increased. Nitrate concentrations were not affected by LSB. With the exception of leachate B, which increased with increasing NFA rate and was regenerated during the weathering study, NFA did not affect leachate composition. Sequential selective dissolution indicated a transformation of Co, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn into less labile mineral pools with weathering. The results of these evaluations suggest that the application of NFA during AMS reclamation would have little effect on leachate chemistry or the mineralogy of trace elements. Thus, the high-volume application of NFA to AMS during reclamation may offer an additional opportunity for the use of this combustion by-product.

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Copyright © 2001. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.30:608–616.