specializing in

water restoration

Iron Oxide Recovery

What is Iron Oxide Recovery?

Iron Oxide Recovery (IOR) is a subsidiary of Hedin Environmental and specializes in the production of pigment-grade iron oxide from abandoned coal mine drainage. IOR is located in southwestern Pennsylvania , where long-abandoned coal mines discharge millions of gallons of iron-contaminated water into receiving streams daily. The technologies that IOR has developed are applicable to water pollution problems wherever coal is mined and iron-contaminated water results.

The Resource Recovery Vision:

For decades, water pollution was considered an unavoidable consequence of coal mining. This belief resulted in the pollution of thousands of streams, rivers, and lakes in the United States . In most cases, the water pollution has continued long after the mines were closed and abandoned. In the 1970’s, environmental laws were enacted that made water pollution an unacceptable consequence of coal mining. Chemical and mechanical treatment technologies were developed that have been effective in eliminating new sources of pollution. However, these technologies are expensive and create solid waste problems.

The Iron Oxide Recovery process represents the next wave of technical innovation for mine water treatment. This paradigm-shifting technology removes a significant water contaminant, recovers it as a valuable product, and, at the same time, produces clean water.

Iron Oxide Recovery, Inc. is committed to producing the highest quality EnvironOxide possible by combining proven water treatment technology with innovative iron oxide recovery.

How Does the IOR Process Work?

The IOR process removes iron from polluted mine water through its precipitation as iron oxide. The patented technology consists of interconnected ponds that are designed to promote the formation of iron oxide solids and facilitate their efficient recovery. The discharge from the production ponds is directed into constructed wetlands, where residual iron is removed and a final discharge is produced that does not pollute the receiving stream. Over time, the iron oxide is removed from the production ponds, cleaned, dewatered, and transported to our processing facility for drying, milling, and packaging.

What Are the Advantages of Using the IOR Process?

The principal advantage of using the IOR process is a reduction in water treatment costs. When the iron oxide production ponds are followed by properly sized constructed wetlands, the final discharge satisfies NPDES permit limits or the goals of a TMDL-based restoration plan. Because the IOR process incorporates passive technologies, the cost of water treatment is less than conventional chemical and mechanical approaches. When compared to conventional treatment over a 20-year period, the cost of an IOR system is from 25% to 50% less. Much of the long-term advantage is realized by the elimination of material handling and disposal costs. Over the past decade, IOR has designed and/or installed dozens of iron oxide-producing mine water treatment systems. Drawing on this extensive project experience, IOR continues to improve its passive treatment technology.

What Products are Produced Via the IOR Process?

The IOR process yields two valuable products: clean water and iron oxide. IOR is marketing iron oxide produced from mine water as EnvironOxide. Markets for EnvironOxide are being developed to ensure that iron oxide produced by IOR systems will be removed and disappear into the marketplace, not a waste disposal site. The IOR process not only “closes the waste loop” via a beneficial reuse process but also yields a valuable asset – clean water.

Click HERE to view the EnvironOxide website.