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Nature Works, Trail, BC. Forms Alliance with Bioremediation & Bioprocess Consulting, LLC

Nature Works, the innovative Canadian bioremediation company, is pleased to announce that it has entered into an alliance with Dr. Jack Adams of Bioremediation and Bioprocess Consulting, LLC. Nature Works is based in Trail BC and has developed an innovative biologically based treatment system that treats industrial strength metal contaminated water. Nature Works has also developed considerable expertise in soil remediation and has been a part of the extensive greening of previously damaged local areas that has so successfully changed the face of West Kootenay region.

Bioremediation & Bioprocess Consulting is an environmental company providing innovative and practical biotreatment and bioremediation solutions for water and solids. In situ and ex situ processes developed by Dr. Adams provide low-cost treatment of metals, inorganics, metal-organic contaminants, and treatment of acid drainage. Processes have been tested through programs at the US Bureau of Mines, the Center for Bioremediation, validated through EPA testing, and. implemented at full scale.

The alliance will present solutions for the treatment of wastewater derived from technologies combining a variety of biological and microbial products. Clients will now have access to a broader spectrum of cutting-edge bioprocess and bioremediation technologies.

Both Matt Pommer and Dr. Adams see this alliance as proof of a commitment to enhance environmental remediation and process water treatment products and services with 21st century technology for treating water. We can now offer bioremediation processes that take treatment of water to the next level of economical and low contaminant level treatment combinations. Various biological, chemical-biological, and microbial treatments hold the promise of being more economical than previously available treatments for metals and inorganics. The new processes will reduce costs, lower sludge volumes and provide better water quality using combined site specific treatments.

The alliance comes into effect immediately. For more information on Bioremediation & Bioprocess Consulting go to:



Arsenic Treatment System Constructed in Trail, BC

In 1997 Nature Works was contracted by Cominco (now Teck Cominco) to design and construct a research based pilot-scale treatment system to examine the efficiencies of using biological methods to remove heavy metals from water.

Metal containing leachate has been treated each year since 1998 with a total treatment volume in excess of 10 million litres over a 35-month operating period. Problems with failures in the plug flow design; partial freezing pipes and shutdowns during re-construction have each affected operating time. The system is now configured to operate year-round with minimal supervision and maintenance.

High concentrations of arsenic were present in the leachate and the initial concentrations have consistently been dramatically reduced.

Arsenic Removal from System 1999 – 2003

Year Input 1st anaerobic 2nd anaerobic Output
1999 (n = 15) 76.4 ppm 14.4 ppm   0.3 ppm
% Reduction   81.2   99.6
2000 (n = 46) 47.2 ppm 8.8 ppm 11.7 ppm 1.6 ppm
% Reduction   79.5 - 33.4 96.6
2001 (n = 89) 95.57 ppm 27.2 ppm 5.8 ppm 0.7 ppm
% Reduction   71.4 78.9 99.3
2002 (n = 32) 82.91 ppm 34.4 ppm 8.2 ppm 1.5 ppm
% Reduction   58.5 76.2 98.2
2003 (n = 28) 108 ppm 20.0 ppm 10.0 ppm 0.5 ppm
% Reduction   81.5 50 99.5

This data is taken from the large system that has been in continuous operation since 2002. Arsenic removal has been consistently high throughout the period of operations. During times when there are disruptions to the system and we stop and start flow through As removal reflects this with lower efficiencies. But, when the system is operated continuously As removal is consistently high. The anomalous increase in As concentration seen in 2002 when higher concentrations were seen in the 2nd bioreactor were specifically related to construction related events.

Arsenic does not form sulphides in the same manner as other metals but it does happen in our biological system. Assays completed by Dr. Dogan Paktunc of CANMET who examined samples using the Stanford University synchrotron showed the presence of arsenic polysulphides in samples taken from our bioreactors and detailed knowledge of the concentrations of arsenic at many depths within the bioreactor is available.

Research Consortium
Biological arsenic removal is currently receiving considerable attention from investigators in many parts of the world. As far as we can determine a few of them have isolated some species of bacteria that play an important role but these are relatively rare and hard to find in a biological system that appears to be removing As. Therefore, our efforts at setting up a research program have been enthusiastically embraced by many other researchers.

Initial high concentrations of Arsenic are being removed and sequestered in our larger primary treatment system but the mechanism is not transparent. The form in which it is sequestered is not evident, despite the known presence of arsenic polysulphides.

Based on the results obtained at the Trail site a research consortium under the sponsorship and direction of Nature Works was established to examine and characterize the biological removal mechanism. Dr. Ken Reimer (Royal Military College, Environmental Sciences Group), Dr. F. Goodarzi, Director, Environmental Studies, Institute of Sedimentary and Petroleum Geology, Geological Survey of Canada, and Dr William Gould, CANMET are examining specific aspects of the removal process at their respective institutions. In addition to column studies taking place at both RMC and CANMET a new arsenic specific system that would treat only water from the arsenic contaminating side of Stony Creek was built in Trail

Construction began in June of 2002 and was completed by mid-August. A previously constructed bioreactor that contained only biological material and leachate from the arsenic sump was used as a source for bacteria to seed the new system. Leachate is taken from the arsenic sump and delivered to a storage facility that subsequently feeds the new treatment system.

In mid August 2002, the system was filled with arsenic leachate then left so that the bacteria could begin to establish. In mid-September sampling commenced and continued until November when the system was drained until spring 2003. The system was re-started during spring 2003 and operated continuously until mid-November.

The work to be completed in each institution is as follows:

1. Natural Resources Canada – Scientific Authority Dr. F. Goodarzi, Co-ordinator, Environmental Studies, Institute of Sedimentary and Petroleum Geology, Geological Survey Canada has agreed to accept and assay138 samples of the original anaerobic digester for metal content and the level of arbon remaining. This data will be used to model the existing cells and determine where and at what levels sequestered arsenic is found. Additionally, Dr. Goodarzi will examine samples using a scanning electron microscope to determine the form of arsenic compounds that are found in samples we send him.

2. Dr. Ken Reimer is directing research to be completed on bench-scale systems, modeled on our system and using Celgar biosolids delivered from Trail. The work will look at three factors:

The gases that are emitted from an operating system  
The role of bacteria in the removal process. Is the process bacterially moderated or bacterially facilitated (i.e. do bacteria actually reduce the As or do they change the micro environment so that As is reduced)  
The long-term stability of the As compounds that are formed  


As speciation in the cells in Kingston and in samples of the Trail anaerobic cell will be completed at the Argonne National Research Lab in Chicago by Dr. Reimer with the assistance and Dr. Jeff Cutler of the Light Source, (University of Saskatchewan).

3. Bacterial speciation will be completed in Ottawa under the direction of Dr. Doug Gould, microbiologist working at CANMET. Dr. Gould has been working on aspects of our system in Trail for the past three years. DNA sequencing will be contracted out by CANMET.

A principle goal of our work is to identify the bacteria that are responsible for the arsenic removal we are seeing. Once done there are several types of applications that we envisage. Systems suchas the one we currently operate can be constructed anywhere in the world where there is a problem with As contaminated water and sufficient land area available to build a system. Low initial capital costs, environmentally friendly operations and in situ disposal of As compounds formed are major attractions of this approach. A second potential use would be design and construction of active barrier walls that could be placed in the path of As contaminated water flowing underground. Such interactive barriers have been constructed for a number of different metal contaminated flow streams but they do not contain As reducing bacteria specifically. Isolation and culturing these bacteria and placing them in barriers as they are constructed will allow for more efficient designs and better removal rates.

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