Location in the Colorado mountains where Axis Geochemical is working on chemical characterization and methods for treatment of acid mine waters. (Credit: David Levy / Axis Geochemical)
There are lots of management concerns around active and abandoned mining operations. And many of those have to do, in some way, with water.
Be it groundwater or surface water, officials who monitor mine sites have to keep tabs on how their operations affect the surrounding environment and the water it holds. To do that, these managers often hire environmental consultants who have the expertise needed.
One of those is David Levy, the owner of Axis Geochemical, a consulting firm in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Levy has helped on a number of mining sites to keep companies in compliance with environmental regulations. Other aspects of the services that he provides mining customers include geochemical modeling of their sites.
A common test that he administers onsite relies on a Hach DR900 Handheld Colorimeter.
“(I use it for) mostly ferrous Fe (iron) as an indicator of redox conditions and to collect ferrous data for geochemical modeling,” said Levy. “Also have been using it to evaluate zinc removal from mine waters using passive treatment.”
Levy is typically responsible for collecting the field measurements himself, but there are occasions that he trains his clients to take measurements.
“I have trained some routine groundwater samplers at mine sites to take the measurements because ferrous Fe often requires dilution in the field, which must be carried out using pH = 2 HCl (hydrochloric acid) to avoid Fe oxidation,” said Levy.
All of the data that he’s collected, as well as others gathered by crews on site, are confidentially used by clients so there aren’t any findings that can be reported. But he does have suggestions for improving the methods he uses, if it can be done.
“Having a ferrous Fe method with higher upper limit and ability to reduce the number of dilutions would have been making my life easier for years, but I am not sure if that is possible,” said Levy.
Top image: Location in the Colorado mountains where Axis Geochemical is working on chemical characterization and methods for treatment of acid mine waters. (Credit: David Levy / Axis Geochemical)