acid mine drainage

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The drainage of water from areas that have been mined for coal or other mineral ores (including gold, silver, copper, iron, zinc, and lead). The water has high acidity (low pH, sometimes less than 2.0) because it has been in contact with material that contains sulphur, producing sulphuric acid (H2SO4) which is strongly corrosive and dissolves metals such as lead, zinc, copper, arsenic, selenium, mercury, and cadmium into ground water and surface water. Acid mine drainage can poison groundwater and drinking water, and it is harmful to aquatic organisms and habitats.

Subjects: Environmental Science.

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