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Floating Bioreactors May Save Minnesota Wild Rice

A environmental engineer is looking into a affordable solution to protect wild rice from mining pollution. A environmental engineer is looking into a affordable solution to protect wild rice from mining pollution.  |  Photo: WDIO-TV file

Updated: May 20, 2018 03:04 PM

BABBITT, Minn. (AP) - An environmental engineer working with University of Minnesota-Duluth researchers is looking for a less expensive solution to protecting wild rice from mining pollution in the Iron Range.

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Minnesota Public Radio reports that Jeff Hanson has spent the past decade studying the issue and working through design, lab tests, field tests and data crunching.

Hanson and his colleagues have developed floating bioreactors that take water with high sulfate. The bioreactors turn the sulfate into sulfide and discards of the sludge. The water that's returned to the lake then meets the state's sulfate standard.

The bioreactors would cost less than a reverse osmosis system, the method currently being considered as a pay to protect wild rice.

The state adopted a rule in 1973 that limited sulfate levels to 10 milligrams per liter in waterways near wild rice.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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