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202076 Coal combustion waste placement in Pennsylvania; An environmental justice issue with implications for contamination of surface and ground waters and human and ecological exposure via inhalation and ingestion
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Coal combustion waste (CCW) is a leachable mixture of carbon, sulfur compounds, nitrates/nitrites, toxic trace elements, radionuclides, and mutagenic polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. Each year the United States Coal Fire Power Plant industry produces over 140 million tons of CCW in the forms of fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, and Flue Gas Desulfurization sludge. Overproduction of CCW has strained the holding capacity of many impoundment sites causing ecological and potential public health disasters, such as the recent Tennessee Valley Authority spill, and Forward Township landslide. The staggering amounts of CCW dumped into landfills and pumped into abandoned mines create a potential health hazard for Pennsylvania communities, especially rural communities already impacted by coal mining. This study has discovered the locations of known CCW placements throughout the state through PA DEP file reviews and community input. Maps of these CCW sites, generated using ArcView, will be presented. Evidence that CCW in landfills, lagoons, and mine fills are open to weathering, erosion, airborne entrainment, and/or leachate percolation through soil causing groundwater and surface water contamination, are discussed. Conceptual models of exposure routes to communities surrounding CCW sites via inhalation of CCW particulate, ingestion of food products that have accumulated CCW contaminants, and ingestion of contaminated drinking water are explained. Potential risks to human health and the environment are evaluated by site proximity to drinking water sources and possible impoundment failures. Results of this evaluation indicate that CCWs create important, threats to the health of ecological and human populations; and environmental justice issues.
Keywords: Environmental Justice, Water Quality
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public working under the guidance of the experienced Dr. Conrad Volz. I have experience sampling numerous mediums, working with GIS mapping software, and with EPA approved ambient air deposition software. These skills have all been necessary for the research projects of which I have contributed. Furthermore, all research has been done under the supervision of my advisor, Dr. Conrad Volz.
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.
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