The potential use of ferromanganese-depositing bacteria as a treatment method for heavy-metal-contaminated water, a literature study

Norway is particularly susceptible to potential pollution of its water resources by heavy metals due to: (i) the importance of its fishing and water-related interests, (ii) the large number of industries, including mining, which produce heavy metal-containing wastes, (iii) the significant number of landfill sites inadequately protected against leaching of heavy metals into underlying aquifers or surface drainage waters. Microbes, including bacteria, can immobilise high levels of heavy metals, and there is evidence that microbially related processes can be competitive with existing methods for treat- ment of heavy metal-contaminated water. Ferromanganese-depositing bacteria have been used in biological systems for the removal of iron and manganese from drinking water, and in processes for the treatment of acidic, iron-rich mine-drainage waters. Evidence from the literature and from recent studies suggests that these ubiquitous organisms have potential for use in the treatment of other heavy metal-contaminated water e.g. landfill leachate. More detailed studies are necessary before a full assessment of their potential can be made.

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