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Title: Assessing ecological risks to the fish community from residual coal fly ash in Watts Bar Reservoir, Tennessee

For this research, extensive site-specific biological and environmental data were collected to support an evaluation of risks to the fish community in Watts Bar Reservoir from residual ash from the December 2008 Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston ash release. This paper describes the approach used and results of the risk assessment for the fish community, which consists of multiple measurement endpoints (measures of exposure and effects) for fish. The lines of evidence included 1) comparing postspill annual fish community assessments with nearby prespill data and data from other TVA reservoirs, 2) evaluating possible effects of exposures of fish eggs and larval fish to ash in controlled laboratory toxicity tests, 3) evaluating reproductive competence of field-exposed fish, 4) assessing individual fish health through physical examination, histopathology, and blood chemistry, 5) comparing fish tissue concentrations with literature-based critical body residues, and 6) comparing concentrations of ash-related contaminants in surface waters with US Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) Ambient Water Quality Standards for Fish and Aquatic Life. These measurement endpoints were treated as independent lines of evidence that were integrated into an overall weight-of-evidence estimate of risk to the fish community. Collectively, the data and analysis presented here indicate that ash and ash-related constituentsmore » pose negligible risks to the fish communities in Watts Bar Reservoir. This conclusion contradicts the predictions by some researchers immediately following the ash release of devastating effects on the aquatic ecology of Watts Bar Reservoir. The information presented in this article reaffirms the wisdom of carefully evaluating the evidence before predicting probable ecological effects of a major event such as the TVA Kingston ash release. Lastly, this study demonstrates that a thorough and detailed investigation using multiple measurement endpoints is needed to properly evaluate ecological effects.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6]
  1. ARCADIS, Clifton Park, NY (United States)
  2. ARCADIS, Portland, Maine (United States)
  3. ARCADIS, Annapolis, Maryland (United States)
  4. Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Chattanooga, TN (United States)
  5. Consultant, Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  6. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (Online); Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1551-3793
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; Work for Others (WFO)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; Arsenic; Selenium; Health metrics; Toxicity testing; Weight-of-evidence
OSTI Identifier: