Geochemical methods to clearly distinguish coal fly ash leachate from natural groundwater

D. I. Siegel, K. Stocking

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Elevated concentrations of dissolved solids in groundwater near a fly ash disposal facility were shown to be naturally occurring, and probably unrelated to fly ash leachate, by using a suite of geochemical approaches. Typical comparative statistical approaches produced equivocal results for the same set of data. Leachate is clearly distinguishable from naturally poor water quality from ratios of major and minor dissolved metals, low cost isotopic analyses, and direct groundwater age determinations. Specifically: (1) the ratios of major metals (Ca, Mg, Na) in leachate are completely different than that of the native groundwater; (2) the isotopic content of leachate show the marked effects of evaporation, whereas the isotopic content of underlying groundwater does not; (3) the groundwater age under the site is older than the site itself, precluding leachate contamination; (4) the sulfur isotopic signature of shallow groundwater is different than that of high-sulfur bearing natural groundwater and leachate; and (5) Eh and pH of the leachate prevents the mobilization of iron and other trace metals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-259
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the American Power Conference
Issue numberpt 1
StatePublished - 1992
EventProceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Power Conference - Chicago, IL, USA
Duration: Apr 1 1992Apr 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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