May 18

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Crayons and Clean Water

The colorful side of water remediation.

Acid mine drainage pollution (via EPA)

In Pennsylvania, abandoned coal mines have left a dirty legacy… thousands of miles of streams polluted by acid mine drainage.

Wetlands can be used to treat the water. But in the process, they accumulate a lot of metal sludge that has to be removed – often at great expense.

Bob Hedin of Iron Oxide Recovery says “And so I ended up exploring the idea that this pure sludge might have a marketable value.”

He found the rusty colored material could be used to make pigment for paint and crayons.

“If you get a burnt sienna crayon out of your sixty-four color Crayola mix, it is iron oxide from mine drainage,” he says.

By turning a liability into an asset, his company makes remediation projects more economically sustainable.

Get Schooled:

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How did this business venture start? Hear Bob Hedin discuss:

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Learn more about treatment of acid mine drainage (via The Heinz Foundation):

The fine print:




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