Development of a rehabilitation system for the red mud waste generated at the Aughinish Alumina Bayer Plant
Aughinish Alumina Limited (AAL) have an obligation by terms of their Integrated Pollution Control Licence (IPCL) and Planning Permission to establish vegetation on the red mud stack at their plant at Aughinish, Co. Limerick. High pH and high exchangeable sodium percentage are the main known factors limiting the establishment of vegetation on red mud. Gypsum addition has been known to assist in alleviating these problems in other countries. However, there is no experience or published information on red mud rehabilitation under Irish conditions. Red mud with organic and inorganic waste-derived ameliorants as well as selected grassland species were examined under laboratory controlled environment conditions as well as in field plot trials. Also, in order that it would be economically achievable, the research utilised locally available waste products as the organic amendments. Screening trials found that physical constraints severely limit plant germination and growth in red mud. Gypsum addition effectively lowers pH, exchangeable sodium percentage and the availability of A1 and Fe in the mud. A strong relationship between pH, ESP and A1 levels was also found. Gypsum addition increased germination percentages and plant growth for all species investigated. Greenhouse trials demonstrated that organic wastes alone did not greatly improve conditions for plant growth but when used in conjunction with gypsum plant performances for all species investigated was significantly increased. There was a high mortality rate for grasses in non-gypsum treatments. An emerging trend of preferential iron uptake and calcium deficiency in non-gypsum treatments was found at pot screening stage. Species also displayed manganese and magnesium deficiencies.
- Theses - Science ITS 
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