The 7 In Situ Spent Mine Site Environmental Remediation Options

31 July 2015
 Categories: , Blog

If your company has completed your mining project on public lands, then you are required by the Bureau of Land Managment to remediate the land. Remediation helps to mitigate any damage caused to the natural environment by your mining operation, and it allows the land to heal as time passes.

In the past, remediation was generally accomplished by digging out any areas with contaminated soils and dumping the soil in a remote landfill. Today, there are seven different options your company can utilize for in situ remediation, each removing the need to dig and transport.

These remediation options are:

  1. bioremediation
  2. chemical oxidation
  3. permeable reactive barriers
  4. soil vapor extraction
  5. solidification and stabilization
  6. steam enhanced extraction
  7. thermal desorption 

Here is some information on each of the in situ options that you have to choose from for your mining site's remediation:


Bioremediation is a process that uses living organisms to remove any contaminates from a mine site. The most common types of bioremediation include:

  • bioleaching
  • bioventing
  • composting
  • phytoremediation

Chemical Oxidation

Chemical oxidation is another process that can be utilized to remediate contaminated soils at spent mine sites. Chemical oxidation is accomplished by injecting chemicals into the soil for the purpose of them reacting chemically with the contaminants present to create new non-toxic substances.

Permeable Reactive Barriers

Permeable reactive barriers are used in groundwater remediation efforts. The permeable barriers are placed on top of the soil and only allow some materials to pass through them, in much the same way as reverse osmosis.

Soil Vapor Extraction

Soil vapor extraction is a remediation process that can be used to remove volatile compounds from unsaturated soils. Water is pumped into the area and the natural evaporative vapor is collected to remove the toxic chemicals.

Solidification and Stabilization

The solidification and stabilization remediation process uses cement to completely seal contaminants away from damaging the environment. Rather than rain leaching out pollutants from the soil, the concrete is impermeable and acts as a permanent barrier. 

Steam Enhanced Extraction

Steam enhanced extraction is a very effective means of remediation for volatile organic compounds in soil. This process injects steam into deep wells on the mine site. The hot fluids are then extracted to remove any contamination present.

Thermal Desorption 

Finally, the remediation process known as thermal desorption is used to eliminate volatile organic compounds as well as organic contaminants. Thermal desorption heats the soil and water to a high temperature and then quickly dries it to destroy any contamination present.

For more information on your environmental remediation options, check out a company like A. G. Wassenaar, Inc.