Do I need to know this stuff?
Depending on your involvement with AMD in your watershed, you may or may not need the level of detail and complexity offered in chemistry section. If you intend on "getting into it", then this section is appropriate. However, if the technical aspects aren't your cup of tea, then skipping this section is probably ok.
The majority of AMD problems stem from the reactions of the mineral pyrite with water and oxygen. Not one, but a series of chemical reactions occur creating the pollutants that appear in our waterways. The specifics of where and how these reactions occur is dependent on the specifics of the geology and hydrology of the particular site. No two AMD discharges are exactly alike chemically, (In fact, we prefer the term Abandoned Mine Drainage over Acid Mine Drainage, because some discharges are actually alkaline.) The individual impacts and the options for treating discharges have much variability.
Understanding AMD chemistry requires having an appreciation for:
- Acids, bases and pH a brief overview of changing hydrogen ion concentrations in water
- The reactions of pyrites
- Ferric-Ferrous Iron
- Neutralizing Acid
- Removing Metals
This section is presented at the level of a high school chemistry class. It would definitely help to have taken high school chemistry. Viewed individually, none of the concepts are that difficult. What's more challenging is taking the individual pieces and then fitting them into a coherent whole.
A VERY BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO ACID AND ALKALINE MINE DRAINAGE Bucknell University
The Chemistry of AMD Hedin Environmental
Buchnell University Professor Carl Kirby, for overviews and research
Acid Rock Drainage at Enviromine
Acid Mine Drainage Formation and Effects New Miles of Blue Streams