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Durham University

Department of Engineering

Staff Profile

Publication details for Professor Karen Johnson

Johnson, K. L. & Younger, P. L. (2005). Rapid manganese removal from mine waters using an aerated packed-bed bioreactor. Journal of environmental quality 34(3): 987-993.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Received for publication August 5, 2004. In the UK, the Environmental Quality Standard for manganese has recently been lowered to 30 µg/L (annual average), which is less than the UK Drinking Water Inspectorate's Maximum Permitted Concentration Value (50 µg/L). Current passive treatment systems for manganese removal operate as open-air gravel-bed filters, designed to maximize either influent light and/or dissolved oxygen. This requires large areas of land. A novel enhanced bioremediation treatment system for manganese removal has been developed that consists of a passively aerated subsurface gravel bed. The provision of air at depth and the use of catalytic substrates help overcome the slow kinetics usually associated with manganese oxidation. With a residence time of only 8 h and an influent manganese concentration of approximately 20 mg/L, >95% of the manganese was removed. The treatment system also operates successfully at temperatures as low as 4°C and in total darkness. These observations have positive implications for manganese treatment using this technique in both colder climates and where large areas of land are unavailable. Furthermore, as the operation of this passive treatment system continually generates fresh manganese oxyhydroxide, which is a powerful sorbent for most pollutant metals, it potentially has major ancillary benefits as a removal process for other metals, such as zinc.