Sudbury researcher hopes artificial wetland rafts help clean up mine waste
Varun Gupta says 'glorified pallets' built to mimic natural, neutralizing wetland environments
A student researcher in Sudbury is hoping that an invention involving wooden pallets and pool noodles might be part of the answer to dealing with mining waste.
Varun Gupta is a Ph.D student working at the Vale Living with Lakes Centre. Through the "Mine of Knowledge" program, he's partnered with mining company Glencore to look into how to create artificial floating wetlands.
"So, how do we bring them to another site, where they have, let's say, a big pond or a lake that is getting contaminated ... from a big tailing pile — how do you create a wetland there?"
"You bring a floating wetland, and that's what I'm creating," he said.
"This system that I am trying to create here has been used in sewage treatment and storm water treatment, but no one has applied that technology to mine drainage," he explained.
Gupta is now studying how effective his prototype is at dealing with mining waste — and he admits the 70 or so rafts he's in the process of building are not made for beauty.
"Looking good is not what I'm going here for, I'm looking for practicality and durability," he said with a chuckle.
To hear more from the interview with Varun Gupta, you can listen here.