BQE Water commissions selenium removal plant

Vancouver-based BQE Water has completed commissioning and start-up of its water treatment plant, which removes selenium from coal ash ponds.

The Selen-IX technology will process the coal ash pond, located in the eastern United States. An unnamed US power company owns the coal ash pond, which contains waste byproducts from coal-fired power plants.

The company’s process concentrates selenium in a small volume of brine solution. BQE then treats the solution with electrochemical cells, converting the selenium into a stable iron-selenium solid.

The solids are separated from the liquid material, and the brine solution is then recycled to the iron exchange circuit. This removes the spent liquid brine.

BQE’s Selen-IX technology can process 100 US gallons per minute and can remove selenium to less than 7.7 parts per billion. During commissioning, BQE was able to limit selenium concentrations below the detection limit of 1 part per billion from a local analytical laboratory.

The plant will operate downstream of a treatment system designed by Salt Lake City-based WestTech Engineering, which provides water treatment systems and equipment for industrial applications.

BQE will operate the plant 50 hours a week Monday through Friday, and is contracted to match water inflows based on weather conditions, he said.

The Selen-IX technology may also create a solid tailings byproduct with the potential for offtake deals, BQE said. The by-products were analyzed and found to be non-toxic.

BQE has also provided water treatment services to mining companies Glencore, Jiangxi Copper and Freeport-McMoRan.

About William J. Harris

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