Duke research on environmental effects of coal ash disposal

Since 2008, our team has investigated the geochemical and isotopic fingerprints of coal ash and impact of coal ash disposal on the environment. We have investigated (1) the contamination of surface waters and pore water (within sediments) of rivers downstream from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coal ash spill in Kingston, Tennessee; (2) the water quality impact of coal ash effluents discharge from coal ash ponds in North Carolina; (3) The geochemical and boron and strontium isotopes fingerprints of coal ash; (4) the radioactivity and distribution of radionuclides in coal ash; and (5) the leaking of coal ash ponds and contamination of associated surface water and shallow groundwater.

Here are the papers we have published thus afar on coal and coal ash (for actual papers see here ):

Wang, Z., Coyte, R.M.*O, Dwyer, G.S., Ruhl, L., Hsu-Kim, H., Hower, J.C., Vengosh, A. (2020) Distinction of strontium isotope ratios between water-soluble and bulk coal fly ash from the United States. International Journal of Coal Geology, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coal.2020.103464

Wang, Z.; Dwyer, G.; Coleman, D.; Vengosh, A. (2019) Lead isotopes as a new tracer for detecting coal fly ash in the environment. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 6, 714-719.

Vengosh, A.,  Cowan, E.A., Coyte, R.M., Kondash, A.J., Wang, Z., JE Brandt, J.E., Dwyer, G (2019) Evidence for unmonitored coal ash spills in Sutton Lake, North Carolina: Implications for contamination of lake ecosystems. Science of the Total Environment, 686, 1090-1103.

Brandt, J.E., Lauer, N.E., Vengosh, A., Bernhardt, E.S. and Di Giulio, R.T. (2018) Strontium Isotope Ratios in Fish Otoliths as Biogenic Tracers of Coal Combustion Residual Inputs to Freshwater Ecosystems. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 5, 718-723.

Schwartz, G.E., Nelson, A.R., Hower, J. Vengosh, A., Hsu-Kim, H. (2018).Ranking coal ash materials for their potential to leach arsenic and selenium: The relative importance of ash chemistry and site biogeochemistry. Environmental Engineering Science (DOI: 10.1089/ees.2017.0347).

Lauer, N.E., Vengosh, A., Dai, S. (2017)  Naturally occurring radioactive materials in uranium-rich coals and associated coal combustion residues from China. Environmental Science & Technology 51, 13487−1349.

Schwartz, G.E., Redfern, L.K., Ikuma, K., Gunsch C.K., Ruhl, L.S., Vengosh, A., Hsu-Kim, H. (2016) Impacts of coal ash on methylmercury production and the methylating microbial community in anaerobic sediment slurries. Environmental Science Processes and Impact, 18(11), 1427-1439.

Harkness, J.S., Sulkin, B., Vengosh, A. (2016) Evidence for coal ash ponds leaking in the southeastern United States. Environmental Science & Technology, 50, (12), 6583–6592.

Schwartz, G.E., Rivera, N.A., Lee, S-W., Harrington, J. M., Hower, J.C., Levine, K.E., Vengosh, A., Hsu-Kim, H. (2016). Leaching Potential and Redox Transformations of Arsenic and Selenium in Sediment Microcosms with Fly Ash. Applied Geochemistry, 67, 177-185.

Lauer, N.E., Hower, J.C., Hsu-Kim, H., Taggart, R.K., Vengosh, A. (2015) Naturally occurring radioactive materials in coals and coal combustion residues in the United States. Environmental Science & Technology, 49, 11227–11233.

Ruhl, R.L., Dwyer, G., Hsu-Kim, H., Vengosh, A. (2014) Boron and Strontium Isotopic Characterization of Coal Combustion Residuals: Validation of New Environmental Tracers. Environmental Science & Technology, 48 (24), 14790–14798.

Liu, Y-B., Chen, T-Y., Mackebee, W.G., Ruhl, L., Vengosh, A., and Hsu-Kim, H. (2013) Selenium Speciation in Coal Ash Spilled at the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston Site. Environmental Science & Technology, 47, 14001-14009.

Vengosh, A. Linberg, T.T., Merola, B., Ruhl, L., Warner, N.R., White, Al., Dwyer, G.S., and Di Giulio, R.T. (2013). Isotopic imprints of mountaintop mining contaminants. Environmental Science & Technology, 47, 10041–10048 (DOI: 10.1021/es4012959).

Deonarine, A., Bartov, G., Johnson, T.M, Ruhl, L., Vengosh, A., and Hsu-Kim, H. (2013). Environmental impacts of the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston coal ash spill. 2. Effect of coal ash on methylmercury in historically contaminated river sediments. Environmental Science & Technology, 47(6), 2100-2108. (DOI: 10.1021/es303639d).

Bartov, G., Deonarine, A., Johnson, T.M., Ruhl, L. Vengosh, A. and Hsu-Kim, H. (2013) Environmental impacts of the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston coal ash spill. 1. Source apportionment using mercury stable isotopes. Environmental Science & Technology., 47(6), 2092-2099 (DOI: 10.1021/es303111p).

Ruhl, L., Vengosh, A., Dwyer, G.S., Hsu Kim H., Schwartz, G., Romanski, A., and Smith, S.D. (2012). The impact of coal combustion residue effluent on water resources: A North Carolina example. Environmental Science & Technology, 46, 12226–12233.

Lindberg, T.T., Bernhardt, E.S., Bier, R., Helton, A., Merola, R.B., Vengosh, A., Di Giulio, T.D. (2011) Cumulative impacts of mountaintop mining on an Appalachian watershed. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of United States of America ,108, 20929-20934.

Ruhl, L., Vengosh. A., Dwyer, G.S., Hsu-Kim, H., Deonarine, (2010). The Environmental Impacts of the Coal Ash Spill in Kingston, Tennessee: An Eighteen-Month Survey. Environmental Science and Technology, 44, 9272–9278.

Ruhl, L., Vengosh. A., Dwyer, G.S., Hsu-Kim, H., Deonarine, A., Bergin, M., Kravchenko, J. (2009). Survey of the potential environmental and health impacts in the immediate aftermath of the coal ash spill in Kingston, Tennessee. Environmental Science and Technology, 43, 6326–6333.

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