Mandal, Arpita; Sengupta, D.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
An assessment of soil contamination due to heavy metals around a coal-fired thermal power plant in India
Date of Publication
Combustion of coals in thermal power plants is one of the major sources of environmental pollution due to generation of huge amounts of ashes, which are disposed off in large ponds in the vicinity of the thermal power plants. This problem is of particular significance in India, which utilizes coals of very high ash content (~55 wt%). Since the thermal power plants and the ash ponds are located in densely populated areas, there is potential chance for contamination of soil and groundwater of the surrounding areas from the toxic trace elements in the ash. An attempt has been made to study the extent of soil contamination around one of the largest thermal power plants of India located at Kolaghat, West Bengal India. Chemical analysis of the top soils and the soils collected from the different depth profiles surrounding the ash ponds, show that the top soils are enriched in the trace elements Mo, As, Cr, Mn, Cu, Ni, Co, Pb, Be, V, Zn, which show maximum enrichment (2-5) in the top soils collected from all the soil profiles. These elements are also enriched in the pond ash. Since there are no other sources of industrial effluents, it can be said that the enrichment of the trace elements (Mn, Co, Mo, Cr, Cu, Pb, Zn, As, Ni, Be, V) is attributed to their input from ash from the disposal pond. The study has been further strengthened by log-normal distribution pattern of the elements.....