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Home Environmental Installation of a Permeable Reactive Barrier

Installation of a Permeable Reactive Barrier (PRB) in Uranium Mining District in East Central Ukraine


This project was supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of State as part of the Bio-chem Redirect Program. One of the key objectives of this project was to pilot the use of an innovative remediation technology for groundwater impacted by mining at a large uranium mine facility near Zhoty Vody, Ukraine (see map). The program also aimed to provide technical assistance to Ukrainian scientists engaged in work related to water resource remediation. The Kryvyi Rig basin in the east central part of Ukraine (Figure 1) is one of the largest uranium mining districts in Europe. Zhovty Vody is one of the largest cities within the uranium mining district, and is a center of uranium and iron ore milling and primary enrichment. Uranium mining and processing (including a hydro-metallurgical plant and sulfuric acid plant) is conducted by the state owned enterprise Vost- GOK. The mining company and the City of Zhoty Vody have partnered with EPA and the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (KPI) to install a permeable reactive barrier (PRB) at a hydro-geologically suitable location to treat groundwater contaminated by leaching from a large tailings facility near the city of Zhovty Vody. Seepage from the tailings facility infiltrates the region’s shallow water table which resulting in contaminated groundwater discharging to the Zhovta River, used by residents for domestic and agricultural purposes. From 2008 to 2011, field investigations were examined the hydrogeology and surface water and groundwater quality in the vicinity of the tailings facility, and determine the most suitable location for the PRB. These data were analyzed to evaluate the effectiveness of the PRB over time. Based on pilot testing, a PRB was completed at the beginning of 2012 at a contaminated site near the uranium tailings storage facility in Zhovty Vody. The monitoring of heavy metals and radionuclide content demonstrated the PRB’s effectiveness in removing toxic substances from contaminated groundwater. The uranium concentration decreased from 0.35 mg/l to 0.1mg/l, demonstrating the possibility of using innovative technology to improve the ecological situation in the most contaminated sites in Ukraine.

Natural energy resources of Ukraine

Technical monitor Mike Wireman (US EPA) in the center, with project manager
Dr. Borys Kornilovych (KPI) on the right, and the working group from the city
of Zhoty Vody during sampling at the uranium mine facility.

Contact Details

Kornilovych Borys Yurievych, Corr.Member of NASU
Organization: National Technical University of Ukraine "Kyiv Polytechnical Institute"
Address: 37, Peremogy Ave, Kyiv 03056, Ukraine
(+380.044) 454-98-81
Fax: (+380.044) 454-98-81
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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