High concentrations of suspended solids in coal mine sedimentation ponds are a factor in lowering water quality. Colloidal particle settling simulations were carried out in the laboratory to test the influence pH and dissolved solids have on concentration and settling rates of suspended solids. The results of the study reveal that the pH range of colloidal coflocculation for the samples tested is between 3.5 and 4.5. Furthermore, liming simulation of acidic sediments, as expected increased colloid dispersion. This increase was dependent on the magnitude of the sodium adsorption ratio (SAR). The greater SAR systems maintained a greater concentration of colloidal suspended particles. However, for the same SAR value when the ionic strength was increased from 4 meq L-1 to 8 meq L-1, sedimentation rate of colloidal particles decreased. The data also show evidence that for the same SAR values when substituting magnesium for calcium, the rate of particle settling increased for one sample but decreased for another. This unexpected behavior is under further investigation.
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The research on which this report is based was financed in part by the U.S. Department of the Interior, as authorized by the Water Research and Development Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-467).
Evangelou, V. P.; Grove, J. H.; and Barnhisel, R. I., "Identification of Soil-Water Chemical Parameters for the Prediction and Treatment of Suspended Solids in Surface Water Reservoirs of Coal Mine Lands" (1985). KWRRI Research Reports. 44.