PROBLEM:The water from the mine seep is full of Ferrous (Fe2+) iron which means it has a +2 oxidation state. This resulting in an orange iron sludge that is destroying the creek habitat, killing wildlife. To be able to remove the iron, it first needs to be changed from a Ferrous Fe2+ state to a Ferric (Fe3+) state. Oxygen from the air is used to pull an electron from the (an oxidation recreation) and change the charge of the ion to 3+. The waters pH must then be neutralized before it can be released to the creek.
SOLUTION: Some acid mine drainage sites, such as the mine seep adjacent to Sunday Creek in the village of Corning, require an unconventional treatment approach. These sites either have a high rate of water flow or high concentration of pollutants, if not both. As treatment strategies can be expensive, we began studying whether the iron in the acid mine drainage could be used to develop a product that could offset the environmental cleanup costs. Inspired by a Swedish company that markets a red paint from copper mine runoff, we experimented with using iron oxide to make paint pigments.