OU Professor Using Acid Mine Drainage

By
WOUB Staff Writer

Dateline
Updated Thu, Jan 26, 2012 8:37 am

Each year the Ohio University Foundation awards money to research and educational initiatives from the school's 1804 fund.

This year 19 projects were awarded a total of almost 300 thousand dollars.

Ohio University Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Guy Riefler is one of the 1804 recipients.

His project seeks to develop a process that turns iron-based products from acid mine drainage into paint pigment.

Riefler says he hopes to remove acid mine drainage from local waterways and turn it into a valuable commodity.

"Wwith this process, if it works as we anticipate, we'd be able to neutralize the acid in the acid mine drainage, remove the metals from the water, and then take those metals and process it and sell them as paint pigment," says Riefler.

Riefler says he has seen projects similar to this in the past, but he is going to try something more innovative.

"What I'm doing here is a little more different then what I've seen. Most of the previous work relies on collecting acid mine drainage that has accumulated somewhere; so cleaning up a polluted site. What I'd like to do is built a water treatment plant that cleans the pollution before it hits the stream," says Riefler.

Riefler says his project is still in the research phase, but he hopes to build up water treatment plants across the region to produce paint and ultimately clean up streams.

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