John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Assessing Ecological Risks to the Fish Community from Residual Coal Fly Ash in Watts Bar Reservoir, Tennessee

Extensive site‐specific biological and environmental data were collected to support an evaluation of risks to the fish community in Watts Bar Reservoir from residual ash from the December 2008 Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston ash release. This paper describes the approach used and results of the risk assessment for the fish community, which consists of multiple measurement endpoints (measures of exposure and effects) for fish. The lines of evidence included 1) comparing post‐spill annual fish community assessments with nearby pre‐spill data and data from other TVA reservoirs, 2) evaluating possible effects of exposures of fish eggs and larval fish to ash in controlled laboratory toxicity tests, 3) evaluating reproductive competence of field‐exposed fish, 4) assessing individual fish health through physical examination, histopathology, and blood chemistry, 5) comparing fish tissue concentrations with literature‐based Critical Body Residues, and 6) comparing concentrations of ash‐related contaminants in surface waters with USEPA's Ambient Water Quality Standards for Fish and Aquatic Life. These measurement endpoints were treated as independent lines of evidence that were integrated into an overall weight‐of‐evidence estimate of risk to the fish community. Collectively, the data and analysis presented here indicate that ash and ash‐related constituents pose negligible risks to the fish communities in Watts Bar Reservoir. This conclusion contradicts the predictions by some researchers immediately following the ash release of devastating effects on the aquatic ecology of Watts Bar Reservoir. The information presented in this paper reaffirms the wisdom of carefully evaluating the evidence before predicting probable ecological effects of a major event such as the TVA Kingston ash release. This study demonstrates that a thorough and detailed investigation using multiple measurement endpoints is needed to properly evaluate ecological effects. Integr Environ Assess Manag © 2014 SETAC

Customer comments

No comments were found for Assessing Ecological Risks to the Fish Community from Residual Coal Fly Ash in Watts Bar Reservoir, Tennessee. Be the first to comment!