Environmental Impacts of the Coal Ash Spill in Kingston, Tennessee: An 18-Month Survey
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An 18 month investigation of the environmental impacts of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coal ash spill in Kingston, Tennessee combined with leaching experiments on the spilled TVA coal ash have revealed that leachable coal ash contaminants (LCACs), particularly arsenic, selenium, boron, strontium, and barium, have different effects on the quality of impacted environments. While LCACs levels in the downstream river water are relatively low and below the EPA drinking water and ecological thresholds, elevated levels were found in surface water with restricted water exchange and in pore water extracted from the river sediments downstream from the spill. The high concentration of arsenic (up to 2000 mu g/L) is associated with some degree of anoxic conditions and predominance of the reduced arsenic species (arsenite) in the pore waters. Laboratory leaching simulations show that the pH and ash/water ratio control the LCACs' abundance and geochemical composition of the impacted water. These results have important implications for the prediction of the fate and migration of LCACs in the environment, particularly for the storage of coal combustion residues (CCRs) in holding ponds and landfills, and any potential CCRs effluents leakage into lakes, rivers, and other aquatic systems.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1021/es1026739
CitationRuhl,Laura;Vengosh,Avner;Dwyer,Gary S.;Hsu-Kim,Heileen;Deonarine,Amrika. 2010. Environmental Impacts of the Coal Ash Spill in Kingston, Tennessee: An 18-Month Survey. Environmental science & technology 44(24): 9272-9278.
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Sr. Research Scientist and Instructor in Earth and Ocean Sciences
Dwyer's experience lies in the development of tracers and indicators of environmental change, and their application to modern and ancient environmental systems. Research areas include paleoceanography, paleoclimatology, carbonate sedimentology, marine geology and environmental geochemistry.
Professor of Earth and Ocean Sciences
My research aims to link environmental geochemistry and isotope hydrology in order to trace the sources and mechanisms of water contamination and relationships with human health. Current research includes global changes of the chemical and isotopic compositions of water resources due to human intervention and contamination, salinization of water resources in the Middle East and Northern Africa, naturally occurring contaminants (arsenic, fluoride, boron) and radioactivity in water resources, the
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