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With Filtration Technology, CONSOL Reuses Water in Mine

ConsolMiningGE is installing a new water treatment system in one of the nation’s largest underground coal mines that will significantly lower freshwater demand due to water reuse.

The new system, claimed as the first to be used in a North American mine, will be installed at CONSOL Energy’s Buchanan No. 1 coal mine in Oakwood, Va.

The water system, consisting of advanced filtration membranes and thermal water treatment technology, allows about 99 percent of the mine water to be reused at the company’s preparation plant facility.

Part of an overall infrastructure upgrade expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2010, GE’s zero liquid discharge (ZLD) system can treat up to 1,600 gallons of water per minute using a combination of ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis, brine evaporation and salt crystallization technologies.

In the process, dissolved minerals in the mine water, mostly salt, will be left behind in a crystalline form.

Other companies like HBC Systems are also looking at the issue of wastewater in the energy industry. HBC developed an environmentally-friendly water reclamation process that uses osmosis technology to recycle wastewater used daily in the oil and gas drilling process.

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