DURANGO, Colo., Aug. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- As frustration over the contamination of the Animas River near Durango, Colorado by an EPA clean-up crew mounts, authorities look to assess the damage, and to find solutions for the cleanup. A group of advanced water treatment technology companies, led by Modern Mining Solutions, has an answer.
According to the EPA, the spill occurred this past week, when one of its clean-up teams was using heavy equipment to enter the Gold King Mine, which is a suspended mine near the town of Durango. The team planned to enter the mine and beginning the process of pumping and treating the contaminated water inside. Instead, they accidentally caused it to flow into the nearby Animas River.
While the levels of contamination and the damage that will result are still being analyzed, the size of the spill is now known. The U.S. Geological Survey has recently reported the size of the spill to be more than 3 million gallons, three times the initial EPA estimate of 1 million gallons.
As for the contaminants, the spill carried heavy metals -- mainly iron, zinc and copper -- from the mine into a creek that feeds into the Animas. The spill has caused a spike in concentrations of total and dissolved metals in the water, the EPA said. EPA sampling has shown levels of lead, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium and mercury were extremely high compared with acceptable levels set by the agency. One of the samples of mercury was nearly 10 times higher than the acceptable EPA levels. Samples of beryllium and cadmium were 33 times higher, and one of the arsenic levels was more than 800 times higher than acceptable. "These levels are shocking," says Max Costa, chair of the department of environmental medicine at New York University School of Medicine.
The focus is now squarely on clean up. A state of emergency was declared by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, which allocated $500,000 from the state's disaster emergency fund to pay for assessment and to fund initial response efforts. "Our priority remains to ensure public safety and minimize environmental impacts," said Hickenlooper.
As agencies scramble to find a suitable clean-up solution for the contaminated water, one group believes their technology is the answer. "Our combined technologies could not be more perfectly suited for this application," states Michael Mills, head of Modern Mining Solutions LLC, (MMS) an advanced technology development firm from Nevada. Modern Mining Solutions, in cooperation with technology partners Recovery Energy, Inc.(REI) and Ferrate Treatment Technologies, LLC (FTT) have collaborated to create a water purification system that they claim can not only clean up spills of this sort, but a host of other environmental disasters as well. "Our system cost effectively treats and removes heavy metals, various chemicals, biochemicals (BOD's), chemical oxygen demands (COD's), dissolved solids, hydrocarbons and a long list of other contaminants" said Mills.
How does this technology work? The water and any dredged material is treated with a patented ferrate process. Ferrate is a powerful, high valence iron molecule (FeO4)2- that oxidizes chemicals, disinfects pathogens and scale causing organisms, and co-precipitates dissolved and particulate metals. The treated contaminants are bound with the iron, which makes them heavier than water so they will settle out. The treated material then goes through a patented gravity separator that can remove very fine particles and separates material that is either heavier or lighter than water. Heavy material comes out the bottom, light material out the top. The solids that are removed are inert. According to Luke Daly, CEO of FTT, "The ferrate treatment process has already been proven to be the most environmentally friendly and lowest cost method for treating municipal drinking water in a recent EPA report titled, Environmental and Cost Life Cycle Assessment of Disinfection Options for Municipal Drinking Water Treatment. Ferrate was also featured in a demonstration process to clean up a portion of Lake Apopka, Florida's largest 'dead lake' leading to a larger treatment contract for FTT and ferrate's #1 ranking out of 10 competitors in an RFQ sponsored by FDEP." The results seem to speak for themselves and ferrate treatment has been christened a 'Global Water Treatment Breakthrough' in a Cleantech cover story. According to a joint statement by Michael Mills, President of Modern Mining Solutions, Richard Lewis, President of Recovered Energy and Luke Daly, CEO of Ferrate Treatment Technologies, "The process is simple and cost effective. It purifies water to EPA standards and the solids are rendered inert, simplifying disposal."
It remains to be seen whether the agencies responsible for the clean-up of the Gold King Mine spill will call upon the team from MMS, REI and FTT to aid in the effort to restore the Animas and San Juan rivers, or will employ a different technology, but Mills and his partners remain confident in their abilities. "There isn't another system in the world like ours - it's as simple as that," he said. "Not only are we on call to process millions of gallons of water per day within a week from today, " Mills continued, "but we know how critical it is for the general public, regulators, and site owners to understand that this capability exists to address instant disasters and difficult water treatment challenges."
More information can also be found on their website at: http://www.modernminingsolutions.com. Click the "Water Purification" button to learn more.
For more information on the wastewater treatment system, inquiries can be directed to Mr. Mills at +1-866-446-3594.
SOURCE Modern Mining Solutions