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Dispersion of As and selected heavy metals around a coal-burning power station in central Slovakia

Keegan, T J and Farago, M E and Thornton, I and Hong, Bing and Colvile, R N and Pesch, B and Jakubis, P and Nieuwenhuijsen, M J (2006) Dispersion of As and selected heavy metals around a coal-burning power station in central Slovakia. Science of the Total Environment, 358 (1-3). pp. 61-71. ISSN 0048-9697

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Abstract

A power station in central Slovakia emitted arsenic (As) in large quantities for over 30 years as a result of burning As-rich brown coal. Nowadays emissions of As are low. Over the lifetime of the plant's operation over 3000 tonne of As have been emitted into the environment. This paper aims to examine the concentrations of As in the soil around the power station, and also to investigate whether the coal burnt in the plant, and consequently the emissions from it, contained raised levels of six further heavy metals. Soil concentrations were compared to ground level air As concentrations predicted by an air dispersion model. Coal samples were taken from the power station and analysed to determine concentrations of As, Zn, Pb, Cu, Cr, Ni and Cd. Soil samples (n=113) were taken up to 12 km from the plant along a transect designed to follow the valley floor in which the power station is situated. Soil samples were analysed for concentrations of those elements for which coal was tested. Concentrations of As in coal were high (AM 518 mug/g). Those of other heavy metals were, in general, low. Concentrations of soil As were substantially raised in the near vicinity of the plant but decreased within 5 km to concentrations similar to those in the rest of the district. Overall, levels within 10 km of the plant were slightly above those recommended for residential levels in the UK. Soil concentrations of other heavy metals were higher in the vicinity of the plant but none, overall was raised. Comparison of results from a previous air dispersion model of ground level air arsenic concentrations showed a moderate correlation (r=0.6) between modelled and measured values. Over its period of operation the power plant has contributed to raised levels of soil As in the local soils, though not substantially of other elements. Though now airborne As emissions are controlled, concern remains regarding soil arsenic concentrations and fugitive emissions from the plant that could be contributing to exposure of the local population and of the workforce.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Science of the Total Environment
Uncontrolled Keywords: Exposure ; As ; Heavy metals ; Point source ; Power station ; Air dispersion model ; Soil contamination
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Departments: Faculty of Health and Medicine > Medicine
ID Code: 56192
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 25 Jul 2012 13:42
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 20:47
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/56192

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