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Mineral processing by-products could treat wastwater

CSIRO says some mining by-products can be effective in preventing nutrients from entering river systems, reducing the potential for algal blooms.

The findings came as a result of a joint project between CSIRO and the Western Australian Department of Water.

The project looked at a range of by-product materials from mineral processing to determine whether they could instead be used to filter nutrients from natural waters or to treat wastewater that would otherwise be discarded.

CSIRO project leader, Dr Grant Douglas, says the use of abundant, low-cost by-product materials generated from mineral processing offers a potentially cost-effective and environmentally-friendly strategy for the removal of nutrients.

The project involved a four-year field trial of a potentially suitable by-product, which was added to soil at a turf farm in the Swan Canning catchment. It was shown to remove 97 percent of phosphorus and 82 percent of nitrogen from the shallow groundwaters.

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