Constructed wetlands for treatment of mine tailings at Tara Mines, Ireland
Natural and constructed wetlands can filter pollutants from water. Recently this property has been exploited in utilising wetlands for passive water treatment. Using relatively concentrated waste, wetlands have been shown to be effective in retaining in excess of 90% metals (MAY et al. 1993) and over 70% sulphate (WINTER & KICKUTH 1989). This approach to water quality improvement is more favourable than traditional treatment methods requiring intensive chemical and labour inputs. Experimental wetlands have been constructed on site at Tara Mines, County Meath, Ireland to facilitate a research project investi- gating the capacity of filter systems in retaining sulphate and metals from mine tailings water. It is expected that such systems, based on natural processes, will be efficient yet require little maintenance and will, therefore, be economically attractive.