Removal and destruction of ammonia from a uranium plant effluent

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 96, No. 1075, 2003

W.D. Gould, D.W. Koren, P. Bédard, R. Molnar

This paper reports the results of the field demonstration campaign of a new process for removing and destroying ammonia from mining/metallurgical effluent solutions. The 50-day campaign was carried out at a uranium plant in Saskatchewan, Canada. The process was developed by adapting and integrating two wellestablished technologies: zeolite adsorption/elution to extract the ammonia from the effluent stream and to produce a concentrated ammonia eluate; and conversion of the in the eluate to innocuous nitrogen by applying bacterial nitrification-denitrification (NH3 = > NO3 - => N2). The data show that reasonable target criteria were met, under very challenging operating conditions. Problem areas and possible causes for poor performance are identified. Preliminary and generic cost estimates of the process are also presented.