Our Bio-Chemical Reactor
A BioChemical Reactor (BCR) is a water treatment system that uses naturally occurring microbes to remove chemicals from our mine run-off water.
As water flows through our mined rock piles, it can absorb chemicals including nitrates, sulphates and selenite (selenium). By carefully diverting this water into a specially designed pond that encourages the growth of natural microbes, we are able to naturally break down the chemicals by removing the oxygen molecule from them. With the oxygen removed, the remaining heavy selenium particles sink to the bottom of the pond, cleaning the water before it is returned to the natural environment.
The BCR pond itself is a lined basin which has three layers: a bottom layer of coarse limestone where the water flows and the selenium settles out, a middle layer consisting of mixed hay, saw dust, wood chips and fine limestone where the microbes live and eat, (we call this the biomixture), and a top layer of hay which acts as an insulating blanket to keep the microbes warm so they continue to organically process the chemicals effectively.
The major steps of our BCR construction process are shown below: