U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Published in Chemosphere, 81, (2010), 1393–1400


A storage pond dike failure occurred at the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston Fossil Plant that resulted in the release of over 3.8 million cubic meters (5 million cubic yards) of fly ash. Approximately half of this material deposited in the main channel of the Emory River, 3.5 km upstream of the confluence of the Emory and Clinch Rivers, Tennessee, USA. Remediation efforts to date have focused on targeted removal of material from the channel through hydraulic dredging, as well as mechanical excavation in some areas. The agitation of the submerged fly ash during hydraulic dredging introduces river water into the fly ash material, which could alter the redox state of metals present in the fly ash and thereby change their sorption and mobility properties. A series of extended elutriate tests were used to determine the concentration and speciation of metals released from fly ash. Results indicated that arsenic and selenium species released from the fly ash materials during elutriate preparation were redox stable over the course of 10 d, with dissolved arsenic being present as arsenate, and dissolved selenium being present as selenite. Concentrations of certain metals, such as arsenic, selenium, vanadium, and barium, increased in the elutriate waters over the 10 d study, whereas manganese concentrations decreased, likely due to oxidation and precipitation reactions.