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Klondike Mine Discharge, 15 gpm KL-1, Cambria County, PA (Image Courtesy of Dr. Rachel Brennan) - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Chitin 20%. SC-20 chitin. Protein 40%. Calcium carbonate 40%.

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Klondike mine discharge 15 gpm kl 1 cambria county pa image courtesy of dr rachel brennan

Chitin 20%



Protein 40%

Calcium carbonate 40%

Passive Remediation of High Metal Loading, Net Acidic Mine Impacted Water Using Crab Shell Chitin as a Substrate AmendmentAmanda K. Brown and Dr. Rachel A. BrennanDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University This research was funded by a Research Experience for Undergraduates grant from the National Science Foundation under CAREER award CBET-0644983

Klondike Mine Discharge, 15 gpm KL-1, Cambria County, PA (Image Courtesy of Dr. Rachel Brennan)

KL-1 Vertical Flow Wetland, Cambria County, PA


Background and Site Choice

  • Substrates containing >30% chitin performed equal to or better than traditional VFW substrate


More than 5000 miles of PA streams are impacted by acidic mine drainage. Mine impacted water (MIW) is problematic for aquatic plants and animals, as well as water delivery systems, and human consumption. MIW can be economically treated with passive vertical flow wetlands. Under certain conditions, these passive treatment systems can clog with metal precipitate. New PA DEP “Set Aside Guidelines” warn against treating “high risk” water passively.

Alkalinity Addition

Metal Removal

  • pH

  • approached neutrality more rapidly in substrates containing >30% chitin

  • Source: PA DEP BAMR AMD Set-Aside Program Implementation Guidelines (2009)

    An existing passive treatment system at the Klondike mine discharge in Cambria county, PA (indicated by the star on the above map) has experienced problems with clogging. With an average flow rate of 15gpm, an average pH of 3.3 and an average 137 mg/L total iron; the Klondike discharge is considered “high risk.”

    • Alkalinity

    • Addition

    • substrates containing >30% chitin rapidly surpass the traditional VFW substrate.

    A Promising Substrate

    Crab shell chitin provides alkalinity as well as a slowly degrading source of carbon and nitrogen. In field trials, crab shell chitin substrate has not clogged with metal oxides while other substrates have.

    • Acidity

    • Removal

    • substrates containing >30% chitin rapidly surpass the traditional VFW substrate.

    Substrate Comparison Study

    Goal: To evaluate the performance of crab-shell chitin (both on its own, and as a fractional amendment to SMC) in treating “high risk” water

    Substrates: Increasing amounts of SC-20 ChitoRem™ with the balance spent mushroom compost. (SMC)

    • Microcosm Contents:

    • 100mL Klondike MIW

    • 0.25g substrate

    Continuing Research



    At each sampling point pH, alkalinity, acidity, and dissolved metal content were measured

    • Thanks to Zach Clement, Abby Caporuscio, Jen McElhoe, and Mary Ann Robinson-Lora

    • Printing Funded by UPAC

    A continuous flow column study is in progress to further evaluate substrates containing greater than 30% crab shell chitin for treating “high risk” mine impacted water.