Mass Balance Of Trace Elements In Walker Branch Watershed: Relation To Coal-Fired Steam Plants

  • Sites: US-WBW
  • Lindberg, S.E., Andren, A.W., Raridon, R.J., Fulkerson, W. (1975) Mass Balance Of Trace Elements In Walker Branch Watershed: Relation To Coal-Fired Steam Plants, Environmental Health Perspectives, 12(), 9-18.
  • Funding Agency: —

  • A mass balance study of trace element flows at the TVA Allen Steam Plant at Memphis showed that most of the released Hg, some Se, and probably most Cl and Br are discharged to the atmosphere as gases. The elements As, Cd, Cu, Ga, Mo, Pb, Sb, Se, and Zn were concentrated in fly ash compared to slag and were more concentrated in the ash discharged through the stack than in that collected by the precipitator, while Al, Ba, Ca, Ce, Co, Eu, Fe, Hf, K, La, Mg, Mn, Rb, Sm, Sr, Ta, Th, and Ti showed little preferential partitioning between the slag and the collected or discharged fly ash. The elements Cr, Cs, Na, Ni, U, and V exhibited behavior intermediate between the latter two groups. This information about stack emissions of trace elements from the Allen Plant was used to estimate the likely range of air concentrations and input (dry and wet deposition) to the Walker Branch Watershed. The watershed, which is on the ERDA reservation at Oak Ridge, is within 20 km of three coal-fired steam plants, two in the TVA system and one belonging to ERDA. The estimated input values are compared to measurements of Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn in wet precipitation falling on the watershed during 1973 and 1974. Dry deposition of these elements could not be measured directly but estimates indicated that this could be of the same order of magnitude as the rainwater input. A six-month mass balance indicated that the watershed efficiently retains Pb (97-98% of the atmospheric input,) Cu (82-84%), while Cr (69%), Mn (57%), Zn (73%), and Hg (69%) are less well retained.