6th Annual  Pennsylvania Statewide Conference on
Abandoned Mine Reclamation
June 9-10 Technical Session         June 11-12 Watershed Session
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA


The Conference


Technical Session

Watershed Session


Registration Brochure




Return to



Activated Iron Sludge Treatment of the Lower Saxman Run Discharge

Jon Dietz, Ph.D.,  Iron Oxide Technologies, LLC

Daryle Fish, Ph.D.,  Saint Vincent College


This demonstration study is examining the feasibility of using an innovative treatment process to remediate a large flow, high iron abandoned mine drainage that discharges into Saxman Run, a tributary of Loyalhanna Creek in Westmoreland County. The treatment process known as Activated Iron Solids/Sequencing Batch Reactor (AIS/SBR) treatment, uses high iron oxide concentrations to catalyze the oxidation and removal of ferrous iron from mine drainage in a chemical process known as heterogeneous ferrous iron oxidation (HeFIO). An AIS/SBR system is a self-contained treatment unit that provides aeration, oxidation, precipitation and settling in a single tank system. For this demonstration a 9,000 gallon unit (120 ft2) was installed and is currently treating 50 gallons per minute (gpm) of the Saxman Run discharge; a passive treatment system would require 15,000 ft2. The ultimate goal of the study is to obtain design information for a full-scale system to treat the 3,000-5,000 gpm of mine drainage in the Saxman Run basin. The AIS/SBR unit was installed in October 2003 and started operation in late November. Initial results form the AIS/SBR indicate iron removal rates are consistent with the reported HeFIO model (Dietz 2003) and settling rates are substantially faster than typically observed in passive treatment.