A fix for metal-polluted rivers
Environmental officials believe they have found a way to clean up rivers that have been polluted by metal mining.
Mining metal hit its peak in the UK during the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries, but almost all mines have since closed. These abandoned mines have had a serious effect on their surrounding environment, leaking acidic metal-rich waters into waterways. The contamination can lead to the deaths of fish and other wildlife.
It’s estimated that each year eight tonnes of metal, including iron, chromium and zinc, finds its way into the River Rheidol, in the Welsh county of Ceredigion. Since the 1960s, this polluted water has been gathered in large “settling ponds” in order to try to filter out the metal, but this has been largely unsuccessful. Now, a new treatment plant has been tested on part of the Rheidol. The car-sized machine separates metal from the water, and it’s hoped that the extracted metal sludge might one day be sold and reused.
The chief executive of the company behind the new machine, Power and Water, has received interest in its new treatment plant from as far away as Sumatra and Australia.
Settling ponds are used to filter metal
from river water.