skip to main content


Title: Spatial and temporal trends in contaminant concentrations in Hexagenia nymphs following a coal ash spill at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant

A dike failure at the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston Fossil Plant in East Tennessee, United States, in December 2008, released approximately 4.1 million m3 of coal ash into the Emory River. From 2009 through 2012, samples of mayfly nymphs ( Hexagenia bilineata) were collected each spring from sites in the Emory, Clinch, and Tennessee Rivers upstream and downstream of the spill. Samples were analyzed for 17 metals. Concentrations of metals were generally highest the first 2 miles downstream of the spill, and then decreased with increasing distance from the spill. Arsenic, B, Ba, Be, Mo, Sb, Se, Sr, and V appeared to have strong ash signatures, whereas Co, Cr, Cu, Ni, and Pb appeared to be associated with ash and other sources. Furthermore, the concentrations for most of these contaminants were modest and are unlikely to cause widespread negative ecological effects. Trends in Hg, Cd, and Zn suggested little (Hg) or no (Cd, Zn) association with ash. Temporal trends suggested that concentrations of ash-related contaminants began to subside after 2010, but because of the limited time period of that analysis (4 yr), further monitoring is needed to verify this trend. The present study provides important information on the magnitude ofmore » contaminant exposure to aquatic receptors from a major coal ash spill, as well as spatial and temporal trends for transport of the associated contaminants in a large open watershed. Environ Toxicol Chem 2016;35:1159 1171. Published 2015 Wiley Periodicals Inc. on behalf of SETAC. This article is a US government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Tennessee Valley Authority, Chattanooga, TN (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  3. Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 35; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 0730-7268
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 01 COAL, LIGNITE, AND PEAT; coal ash; metals; contaminants; exposure; mayfly nymphs; ecotoxicology
OSTI Identifier: