From the Ashes: Using BERA to Assess a Coal Fly Ash Spill in Tennessee, with Suzy Walls

Kingston Fossil Plant, coal ash spill cleanup, 2012. Credit: Appalachian Voices, CC BY 2.0, cropped from original.

The largest coal fly ash spill in US history occurred in 2008, at the Kingston Fossil Plant in Roane County, Tennessee. Over 4.1 million cubic meters of toxic coal fly ash spilled into the surrounding river ecosystem, which included three rivers and a reservoir. The January 2015 issue of IEAM features a special series of articles that detail the Baseline Ecological Risk Assessment (BERA) conducted to assess residual ash remaining in the Watts Bar Reservoir.

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About the Guest
Suzy photoSuzy Walls is an Ecologist for the Integrated Environmental Sciences and Technology group at ARCADIS. Walls has over 9 years of experience in ecological risk assessments and has served as the ecological studies coordinator at the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston Ash Recover Project for the past 5 years. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science degree in Entomology from the University of Tennessee, focusing on benthic invertebrate community responses to metals and ash contamination. Her research experience includes evaluating environmental exposures of chemical contamination to aquatic- and riparian- feeding wildlife, conducting biological surveys for bioaccumulation and community studies, and leading ecology-based educational outreach programs for K-12.

Articles Referenced in this Podcast
Walls et al. 2015.Ecological Risk Assessment for Residual Coal Fly Ash at Watts Bar Reservoir, Tennessee

Rigg et al. 2015.Assessing Ecological Risks to the Fish Community from Residual Coal Fly Ash in Watts Bar Reservoir, Tennessee

Buys et al.2015. Ecological risk assessment for residual coal fly ash at Watts Bar Reservoir, Tennessee: Limited alteration of riverine-reservoir benthic invertebrate community following dredging of ash-contaminated sediment

Stojak et al.2015. Evaluation of metals, metalloids, and ash mixture toxicity using sediment toxicity testing.

Meyer et al.2015. Evaluating risks to wildlife from coal fly ash incorporating recent advances in metals risk assessment

Walls et al.2015. Effects of Coal Fly Ash on Tree Swallow Reproduction in Watts Bar Reservoir, Tennessee.

Carriker et al.2015. Application of Ecological Risk Assessment in Managing Residual Fly Ash in TVA’s Watts Bar Reservoir, Tennessee

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