6th International Young Scientist Congress (IYSC-2020) and Workshop on Intellectual Property Rights. 10th International Science Congress (ISC-2020).  International E-publication: Publish Projects, Dissertation, Theses, Books, Souvenir, Conference Proceeding with ISBN.  International E-Bulletin: Information/News regarding: Academics and Research

Trace Metal Leaching and Bioavailability of Coal-Generated Fly Ash

Author Affiliations

  • 1Bryant University, Smithfield, Rhode Island, USA
  • 2 Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, USA

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 1, Issue (5), Pages 76-80, December,22 (2012)


Coal-generated fly ash (FA) is being used for various applications, although there is evidence that indicates leaching or vegetative uptake of trace metals can potentially reach hazardous concentrations. In this study, FA was obtained from a coal-burning power plant in Pennsylvania and was tested for its leaching potential of selected trace metals (Al, As, Ba, Ca, Cr, Co, Cu, Fe, Pb, Mg, Mn, Ni, Se, Sr, V, and Zn). SEM observations show the FA has an abundance of large, porous, irregular-shaped grains that would absorb water, which would adversely affect the quality of a cement application. A comparison with another FA with typical glass spheres demonstrates the differences in FA structure and physical characteristics. An analysis of FA total metal content indicated a number of trace metals are over the cleanup standard limits for residential land over an aquifer. The FA leaching potential was determined by the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) and the Synthetic Precipitate Leaching Procedure (SPLP) tests. The results show that Se was over the TCLP limit, while As and V were over the U.S. drinking water Maximum Contaminate Level (MLC) for the SPLP test. However, these leachate tests have been criticized for not appropriately simulating the complex deposition and use conditions. Further research is required to develop applicable leaching test protocols for the various applications of FA.


  1. Dewan S., Coal ash spill revives issue of its hazards, New York Times, December 24 (2008)
  2. American Coal Ash Association, Analysis of new federal government data shows coal ash comparable to residential soils, Retrieved on July30, 2012 from the ACAA web site: http://www.acaa-usa.org/associations/8003/files/ Coal_Ash_Material_ Safety_Study_News_2012-06-06.pdf(2012)
  3. Saewitz M. and McCabe R, Chesapeake takes steps toward superfund designation for site, Retrieved on August 20, 2012 from PilotOnline.com web site: http:// hamptonroads.com/2008/07/chesapeake-takes-steps-toward-superfund-designation-site, July 19 (2008)
  4. McCabe R., above ground, a golf course. Just beneath it, potential health risks, Retrieved on August 20, 2012 from PilotOnline.com web site: http://hamptonroads.com /2008/03/above-ground-golf-course-just-beneath-it-potential -health-risks, March 30 (2008)
  5. Johnson J., The foul side of “clean coal”, Chemical and Engineering News, 87, 44-47 (2009)
  6. Coal combustion product, Production and Use Survey Report, Retrieved July 26, 2012 from the ACAA web site: http://acaa.affiniscape.com/associations/8003/files/2010_CCP_Survey_FINAL_102011.pdf (2010)
  7. Pandian N., Fly ash characterization with reference to geotechnical applications, Journal of Indian Institute of Science, 84(6), 189-216 (2004)
  8. Horiuchi S., Kawaguchi M. and Yasuhara K., Effective use of fly ash slurry as fill material, Journal of Hazardous Materials, 76(2-3), 301-337 (2000)
  9. Jala S. and Goyal D., Fly ash as a soil ameliorant for improving crop production – a review, Bioresource Technology, 97(9), 1136-1147 (2006)
  10. Arivazhagan K., Ravichandran M., Dube S., Mathur V., Khandakar R., Yagnanarayana K., Pasha M., Sinha A., Sarangi B., Tripathi V., Gupta S., Singh R., Ali M., Thakur A. and Narayan R, Effect of coal fly ash on agricultural crops: showcase project on use of fly ash in agricultural in and around thermal power station areas of National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd., India, World of Coal Ash (WOCA) conference, Denver, Co, USA, May 9-12, (2011)
  11. Special Wastes. Retrieved June 13, 2012 from the US EPA Wastes – Non-Hazardous Waste – Industria Waste Web site: http://www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/industrial/special/ index.htm (2012)
  12. RTI, Research Triangle Park, Human and ecological risk assessment of coal combustion wastes, prepared for the U.S. EPA, August 6 (2007)
  13. Yufeng Z., Zhenghua W., Xianorong W., Lemei D. and Yijun C., Mobility of the rare earth elements with acid rainwater leaching in the soil column, Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 67(3), 399-407 (2001)
  14. Tripathi R., Vajpayee P., Singh N., Rai U., Kumar A., Ali M., Kumar B. and Yunus M., Efficacy of various amendments for amelioration of fly-ash toxicity: growth performance and metal composition of Cassia siameaLamk, Chemosphere, 54(11), 1581-1588 (2004)
  15. U.S. EPA, EPA promoted the use of coal ash products with incomplete risk information, Evaluation Report No. 11-P-0173 from the Office of the Inspector General, March 23, (2011)
  16. Talbot J. and Weiss A., Laboratory methods for ICP-MS analysis of trace metals in precipitation, EPA Hazardous Materials Lab, Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center, March (1994)
  17. U.S. EPA Method 9045 D. Soil and waste pH. Retrieved on June 20, 2012 from the US EPA Web site: http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/testmethods/sw846/pdfs/9045d.pdf, November (2004)
  18. University of Wisconsin – Madison, Analysis of Major, Minor and Trace Elements in Soil and Sediment Samples with ICP-OES and ICP-MS. Retrieved on June 20, 2012 from SOP Soil & Plant Analysis Laboratory web site: http://uwlab.soils.wisc.edu/files/procedures/soil_icp.pdf, October (2005)
  19. EPA Method 1311 Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure. Retrieved on June10, 2012 from the EPA web site: http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/testmethods/sw846/ pdfs/1311.pdf, (1992)
  20. EPA Method 1312 Synthetic Precipitation Leaching Procedure. Retrieved on June10, 2012 from the EPA web site: http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/testmethods/sw846/ pdfs/1312.pdf, (1992)
  21. Kirby Memorial Health Center Analysis Report, Wilkes-Barre, PA August 13, (1998)
  22. Del Monte M. and Sabbioni C., Morphology and mineralogy of fly ash from a coal-fueled power plant, Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics, 35(1-2), 93-104 (1984)
  23. Statewide health standards, Retrieved on June 20, 2012 from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Cleanup & Brownfields web site: http://www.dgs.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/ community/ land_recycling_ program/10307/statewide_health_standards /552039, (2012)
  24. McNally D., Crowley-Parmentier J. and Whitman B., Growth and Uptake of Trace Metals by Lolium Perenne(perennial ryegrass) on Coal-Generated Fly Ash, International Research Journal of Biology, (accepted) (2012)
  25. U.S. EPA Region IX, Drinking water standards and health advisories table, San Francisco, CA. (2009)
  26. Howd R., Memorandum. Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. CA. (2000)
  27. The EPA TCLP: Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure and Characteristic Wastes (D-codes). Retrieved on August 21, 2012 from Environment, Health and Safety Online web site: http://ehso.com/cssepa/TCLP.htm. (2011)
  28. Schaeffer E., EPA relies on inadequate test to assess dangerous leaching. Retrieved on August 21, 2012 PSR web site: http://www.psr.org/environment-and-health/environmental-health-policy-institute/responses/epa-relies-on-inadequate-test.html, (2012)
  29. Committee on mine placement of coal combustion wastes, National Research Council (NRC), Managing coal combustion residues in mines. The National Academies Press, Washington D.C. (2006)
  30. Abii T., Levels of Heavy Metals (Cr, Pb, Cd) Available for Plants within Abandoned Mechanic Workshops in Umuahia Metropolis, Research Journal of Chemical Sciences, 2(2), 79-82 (2012)