Biochar offers an extremely cost-effective solution to bind toxins and prevent their leaching into surface and ground water. And, as a bonus, the once sterile soil can now support plant growth.
By sequestering the heavy metals and acids in the soil surrounding abandoned mines, biochar prevents these contaminants from leaching into local water supplies–and immobilizes them long enough so they degrade naturally. Secondarily, biochar quickly facilitates the reestablishment of vegetation on this typically sterile ground with improved soil fertility, increased infiltration, and reduced erosion. Moreover, biochar can accomplish mine reclamation quickly and at a mere fraction of the cost of removing tailings to hazardous waste sites.
Proof of biochar’s mine reclamation capabilities can be found within many biochar experiments at abandoned mine sites throughout Colorado and other western states. In less than a year, the projects revegetated the area, stabilizing the steep slope and drastically reducing the risk of the heavy metals leaching into water supplies.