TEDx audience learns how to solve the sulfate problem

Jeff Hanson on the TEDx stage

April 17, 2024:  On the TEDxSilver Lake stage in Virginia, Minnesota in February, Jeff Hanson spoke to the event’s theme, Bridging the Divide.  “Sulfate is a big deal because it’s become a divisive issue in Minnesota,” said Hanson, an issue that appears to set environmental concerns against mining development.  But, he pointed out, “that’s a false choice.”  Finding an affordable way to clean up waterways polluted by mining waste is something we can all agree on. Hanson outlined the new three-step process that reliably reduces sulfate well below the state standard of 10 milligrams per liter, the threshold that protects wild rice.  And the cleanup can be done with local resources: native bacteria to reduce the sulfate to sulfide, Minnesota iron (in a direct-reduced form) to convert it to iron sulfide for removal, and Minnesota labor to monitor the process, bringing needed jobs to the Iron Range. See the talk here.  

TEDx talks bring “ideas worth spreading” to a broad audience in the style of the TED talks (technology, entertainment, design) that have become part of our media landscape.