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Open Access Peer-reviewed

Water Quality of Coal Ash Pond and Its Impact on Adjoining Surface and Groundwater Systems

Tamjid -Us-Sakib, Sharmin Sultana , Aninda Nafis Ahmed, Md. Anwar Arfien Khan, Madhu Sudan Saha
American Journal of Water Resources. 2018, 6(4), 176-180. DOI: 10.12691/ajwr-6-4-5
Received August 10, 2018; Revised October 13, 2018; Accepted November 01, 2018

Abstract

This study was performed to know the quality of coal ash pond water of Barapukuria Thermal Power Plant (BTPP) and its impact on the surrounding surface and ground water systems. Three different types of water samples i.e., directly from coal ash pond, nearby surface water and groundwater system were investigated. Physico-chemical parameters [pH, EC, TDS, Turbidity, DO and BOD] and different heavy metals [Pb, Cr, Fe, Zn and Cu] of water samples were determined. The concentrations of heavy metals were found very high in the investigated area. The contamination level was measured through different water pollution indices such as heavy metal pollution index (HPI), heavy metal evaluation index (HEI), and degree of contamination (Cd). According to water quality standards of Bangladesh standard and International standards it was indicated that this water was highly polluted with regards to Pb, Cr, Fe, Zn and Cu. From this study it can be suggested that if necessary steps should not be taken in near future the heavy metal contamination of coal ash pond will be a serious threat to human and environment. This research will enhance the public awareness about heavy metal contamination.

1. Introduction

Coal ash pond is a vital issue in thermal power plant. Generally, ash pond is an engineered structure for the disposal of bottom ash and fly ash. BTPP produces 300metric ton fly ash per day by burning 2,400 ton of coal to generate 250MW electricity 1. Ash (bottom ash and fly ash) produced by combustion of coal in thermal power plant are dumped in coal ash pond. This ash is pumped to ash pond in the form of paste under high concentration slurry disposal or mixed with water in a ratio varying from 1: (8 to 20) 2. As coal ash is the residue left from burning coal it contains contaminants such as lead, chromium, cadmium, zinc, iron, mercury and arsenic that can cause harm to environment. Heavy metals in fly ash fall down to soil and water bodies due to gravity after emission and ultimately uptake by standing plants and leached out to groundwater systems 3. Coal ash ponds are toxic sources of dangerous pollutants that pose a danger to human and environmental health if the toxins spread to adjacent surface water and ground water. Environmental Protection Agency began overseeing the regulation of all ash ponds in order to establish national fly ash pond standards.

For evaluation of water pollution several methods such as the contamination index (Cd), the heavy metal pollution index (HPI) and the heavy metal evaluation index (HEI) were developed. These indices help assessing the present level of pollution in water resources and combine all the water pollution parameters into some easy approach 4, 5, 6. The main objectives of this paper are:

• Characterization and determination of heavy metals concentration of water sample in study area.

• Comparison of water quality with the standards of Bangladesh and International Organization in respect to irrigation and drinking purpose.

2. Methodology

2.1. Study Area

The study area is coal ash pond water of Barapukuria Thermal Power Plant (BTPP) which is situated at the northern part of Bangladesh and adjoining surface and groundwater sources (shown in Figure 1). BTPP started its activity in the year 2006. The area of coal ash pond is 51 acre and its depth is 6.0 meter.

2.2. Sample Collection

Sample collection was performed during the time of June, 2016. Three different types of water samples were collected from the plant area, three from ash pond, three from fresh water pond and four samples from nearby tube-well. The GPS coordinates of the sampling site was recorded with the help of a GPS label of each sites are presented in Table 1. The water of coal ash pond (APW-1, APW-2 and APW-3) are reused for cooling purposes inside the plant. Pond (P-1, P-2 and P-3) water samples are used for aquaculture. Ground water (T-1, T-2, T-3) samples were collected from nearby villages and T-4 is 1.5km away from thermal power plant which is considered as background value or control.

2.3. Chemical Analysis of Samples

The water Samples were collected in plastic bottles which were pre-conditioned with 5% nitric acid and rinsed with distilled water. Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and Electrical Conductivity (EC) were measured with portable meter equipped with membrane electrode (Model: HANNA HI 2300) while pH and Dissolved Oxygen (DO) were measured with bench top pH meter (Model: Jenway 3510) and DO meter (Model: HANNA HI 2400) respectively. BOD and Turbidity of water samples were measured with turbidity meter (Model: HANNA HI 93703) and BOD meter (Model: HANNA HI98193) respectively. Heavy metal analysis was performed by Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS) (Model: Varian AA240). All the Chemical analysis of water samples were done in the laboratory of the Institute of Mining, Mineralogy and Metallurgy (IMMM), Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR), Joypurhat.

2.4. Pollution Evaluation Indices

Pollution indices are estimated for a specific use of the water under consideration. The indices used in this study, namely heavy metal pollution index (HPI), heavy metal evaluation index (HEI) and degree of contamination (Cd) are determined for the purpose of evaluating water pollution both drinking and agricultural use, where the formulas deal with the similar characteristics of heavy metals. The HPI and HEI methods provide an overall quality of the water with regard to heavy metals. On the other hand, in the Cd method, quality of water is evaluated by computation of the extent of contamination.


2.4.1. Heavy Metal Pollution Index (HPI)

The HPI method was developed by assigning a rating or weightage (Wi) for each chosen parameter and selecting the pollution parameter on which the index was to be based. The rating is an arbitrary value between zero and one and its selection reflects the relative importance of individual quality considerations. In this study, the concentration limit (i.e., the highest permissible value for drinking water, Si) is taken from the both for international (WHO and FAO) and Bangladesh standards 7, 8, 9, 10. The uppermost permissive value for drinking water (Si) refers to the maximum allowable concentration in drinking water in absence of any alternate water source. The HPI, assigning a rating or weightage (Wi) for each selected parameter, is determined using the expression below 11, 12.

Where Qi and Wi are the sub-index and unit weight of the ith parameter, respectively, and n is the number of parameters considered.

The sub-index (Qi) is calculated by

Where Vi, and Si are the monitored heavy metal and standard values of the ith parameter, respectively. While Prasad and Bose (2001) considered unit weightage (Wi) as a value inversely proportional to the maximum admissible concentration (MAC) of the corresponding parameter as proposed by Siegel, 2002 13.


2.4.2. Heavy Metal Evaluation Index (HEI)

HEI, like the HPI, gives an overall quality of the water with respect to heavy metals 14, and is computed as:

Where Hc and Hmac are the monitored value and maximum admissible concentration (MAC) of the ith parameter, respectively.


2.4.3. Degree of Contamination (Cd)

The contamination index (Cd) summarizes the combined effects of several quality parameters considered harmful to household water 15, and is calculated as follows:

Where,

Cfi, CAi and CNi represent contamination factor, analytical value and upper permissible concentration of the ith component, respectively, and N denotes the ‘normative value’. Here, CNi is taken as MAC.

3. Results and Discussion

3.1. General Characteristics of Water

Some physico-chemical properties of water samples for studied area are summarized in Table 2. Lowest pH value was observed for FW which was situated inside the plant area and highest value was found in pond water (surface water) sample. Average pH of APW is 6.96. The pH value of water samples ranged from 4.4 to 8.6 which indicating acidic to slight alkaline nature of water. The highest EC value was found in FW while the EC of ash pond water ranges from 618 to 823μs/cm and in tube-well water was 139 to 231μs/cm. Considering EC values, BW and FW were not suitable for irrigation but rest of the water samples are suitable for irrigation 16.

Most turbid water was found in APW-2 while turbidity is not a problem for pond water & tube-well water. The result of TDS value followed the order: FA>APW-3> BW> APW-1> APW-2> T-1>P-3>P-2> T-3>T-4>T-2. Very low TDS values were found for tube-well water compared to pond water and APW. According to BMAC the entire water samples except tube-well water were highly turbid and too much turbid water is not suitable for aquatic flora and fauna because sunlight cannot pass through the turbid water.

DO and BOD are the most important parameter for aquatic life. DO of water samples ranges from 4.2 to 7.9ppm. It was noticed that ponds (P-1, P-2, & P-3) nearby ash pond were locally used for aquaculture. Based on Do value this water is between the BMAC range and somehow suitable for aquaculture (ECR, 1997) 10 but heavy metal contamination makes problem in fact. BOD values of water samples varied from 6.9 to 65 ppm. Higher BOD values were found in BW and FW. Lowest BOD value was found in T-1 which is used for drinking purpose. Though BOD values of ash pond water (APW) were not so high but after few years this BOD value can be increased because water of APW was reused regularly inside the plant.

3.2 Concentration of Heavy Metals in Water

Heavy metal concentrations of water sample were presented in Table 3. It was found that the concentration of all the investigated metals (Pb, Cr, Fe, Cu and Zn) was very high and water was highly contaminated with heavy metals. Pescod described some limit value of heavy metal when any effluent-contaminated water will be used for irrigation 17. The results of heavy concentration are also compared with the permissible limit of drinking water by WHO 7. All the surface water (APW-1,2,3 and P-1,2,3) of studied area were above the permissible limit of irrigation. Groundwater samples (T-1,2,3) were not between the permissible limit. Though T-4 point (1.5km away from BTPP) was taken as control or background, but higher concentration of Cr & Zn was found there. According to water quality standards set by Bangladesh Standard and international organization WHO (2011) 10, FAO (1972) 11, this water was not suitable for drinking and irrigation purposes.

3.3. Pollution Evaluation Indices

The results of Water Pollution Indices are depicted in Table 4. The heavy metal pollution indices were computed using the Bangladesh Standard and international organization standard (WHO & FAO) were represented by HPIa and HPIb, and HPIc respectively. The value of HPIa, HPIb and HPIc for the water samples were varied from 1426.9-23.894, 31608.40-343555.15 and 5306.18-22326.2 respectively. Heavy metal evaluation index (HEI) was computed using Bangladesh standard and WHO standard where HEI values ranged from 394.11-10910.33 and 770.85-11736.8 respectively. The degree of contamination (Cd) 18 was used as a reference of estimating the extent of metal pollution. The values of Cd for water samples were based on WHO standard which ranged from 765.853-11730.8. However highest values of HPI, HEI and Cd were found for bottom ash water (BW) and APW-1 among three ash pond water.

In this study, the existing contamination levels for HPI, HEI and Cd have also been categorized according to Bhuiyan et al 19 at Table 5. The HPIa, HPIc, HPId and Cd are consistent in showing that the bottom ash water, fly ash water, ash pond water and tubewell water samples fall in the categories of high contamination (Table 5) which suggesting that they are highly polluted.

4. Conclusion

The present study carried out to understand water quality of coal ash pond and its impact on the adjoining surface and groundwater systems.

i). Considering physicochemical parameters it can be said that samples of coal ash pond are not suitable for drinking and irrigation purposes. Apparently the nearby ponds and tube-well water are suitable for irrigation, unfit for drinking purposes; in fact due to heavy metal contamination these water are not usable.

ii). According to heavy metal pollution index (HPI), heavy metal evaluation index (HEI) and degree of contamination (Cd) the water is highly contaminated with respect to Pb, Cr, Fe, Cu and Zn. This ground water pollution is directly related to the human health. Due to heavy metal contamination in drinking water negative result must be occurred. As a result there are some cancer like diseases i.e., Minamata, Arsenacosis, Itai-Itai can be outbreak at that locality.

iii). Therefore, proper attention is needed in this sector. If the following steps: Proper maintenance of coal ash pond, checking the overflow during rainy season, leaching can be restricted by concrete bottom floor, side wall should be higher than the surrounding agricultural field, plantation throughout the periphery of coal ash pond, etc. are carefully managed, the contamination in that area will be minimized.

Acknowledgements

We want to acknowledge the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) authority for financial support. We also want to thank Director, IMMM, BCSIR, Joypurhat for his cooperation and inspiration. We are grateful to the scientists, technicians and lab attendants for their support to complete the project.

References

[1]  A.A. Khan, Saha M.S; Sultana S; Ahmed A.N; and Das R.C. 2013. Coal fly ash of barapukuria thermal power plant, Bangladesh: physico chemical properties assessment and utilization. International Journal of scientific & engineering research, 4(11) pp 1456-1460.
In article      
 
[2]  R.K. Grover, Jain. R and Singhai S. 2013. Operational & maintenance of tailings earth en dam especially for disposal of fly ash from thermal power stations. International Journal of scientific and research publications, volume 3, issue 2, pp1-4.
In article      
 
[3]  Sakib T. U and Sultana, M. S., “Assessment of Heavy Metals Contamination of Agricultural Field around Brick Kilns in Joypurhat District, Bangladesh”. International Journal of Science and Engineering Investigations. 6 (70), 98-105. 2017.
In article      
 
[4]  Abdullah EJ. Quality assessment for Shatt Al-Arab River using heavy metal pollution index and metal index. J Environ Earth Sci; 3(5): 114-20. 2013.
In article      
 
[5]  Prasad B, Bose J. M. Evaluation of the heavy metal pollution index for surface and spring water near a Limeston mining area of the lower Himalayas. Environ Geol; 41(1-2): 183-8. 2001.
In article      View Article
 
[6]  Maria-Alexandra H, Roman C, Ristoiu D, Popita G, Tanaselia C. Assessing of water quality pollution Indices for hevay metal contamination. A study case from Medias City groundwaters. Agric Sci Pract; 3-4: 25-31. (2013).
In article      
 
[7]  WHO, Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality, 4th ed. World Health (WHO) Organization. 2011.
In article      
 
[8]  FAO, Overall Study of the Messara Plain. Report on Study of the Water Resources and their Exploitation for Irrigation in Eastern Crete, FAO Report No. AGL:SF/GRE/31. 1972.
In article      
 
[9]  Indian Standard, Bureau of Indian Standards Drinking Water Specifications, BIS 10500:2012, New Delhi, India. 2012.
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[10]  Bangladesh Standard (DoE), The environment conservation rules 1997. Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Dhaka. 1997.
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[11]  S.J. Reddy, Encyclopaedia of Environmental Pollution and Control, vol. 1, Environmental Media, Karlia, India, p. 342. 1995.
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[12]  S.V. Mohan, P. Nithila, S.J. Reddy, Estimation of heavy metal in drinking water and development of heavy metal pollution index, J. Environ. Sci. Health A31 283-289. 1996.
In article      View Article
 
[13]  Siegel F.R., Environmental geochemistry of potentially toxic metals. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. 2002.
In article      View Article
 
[14]  A.E. Edet, O.E. Offiong. Evaluation of water quality pollution indices for heavy metal contamination monitoring.A study case from Akpabuyo-Odukpani area, Lower Cross River Basin (southeastern Nigeria), GeoJournal 57 295-304. 2002.
In article      View Article
 
[15]  B. Backman, D. Bodis, P. Lahermo, S. Rapant, T. Tarvainen. Application of a groundwater contamination index in Finland and Slovakia, Environ. Geol. 36 55-64. 1997.
In article      View Article
 
[16]  Biswas P. K., Uddin N, Alam S, Sakib T. U, Sultana S, and Ahmed, T., “Evaluation of Heavy Metal Pollution Indices in Irrigation and Drinking Water Systems of Barapukuria Coal Mine Area, Bangladesh”, American Journal of Water Resources. 5(5), 146-151. 2017.
In article      
 
[17]  Pescod, M.B., “Wastewater treatment and use in agriculture”, Bull FAO, 47:125, Rome, 1992.
In article      
 
[18]  M.Y. Al-Ami, S.M. Al-Nakib, N.M. Ritha, A.M. Nouri, A. Al-Assina, Water quality index applied to the classification and zoning of Al-Jaysh canal, Bagdad, Iraq, J. Environ. Sci. Health A 22 305-319. 1987.
In article      
 
[19]  M. A. H. Bhuiyana, M.A. Islam, S.B. Dampare, L. Parvez, S. Suzukia, Evaluation of hazardous metal pollution in irrigation and drinking water systems in the vicinity of a coal mine area of northwestern Bangladesh, Journal of Hazardous Materials 179 1065-1077. 2010.
In article      View Article  PubMed
 

Published with license by Science and Education Publishing, Copyright © 2018 Tamjid -Us-Sakib, Sharmin Sultana, Aninda Nafis Ahmed, Md. Anwar Arfien Khan and Madhu Sudan Saha

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Cite this article:

Normal Style
Tamjid -Us-Sakib, Sharmin Sultana, Aninda Nafis Ahmed, Md. Anwar Arfien Khan, Madhu Sudan Saha. Water Quality of Coal Ash Pond and Its Impact on Adjoining Surface and Groundwater Systems. American Journal of Water Resources. Vol. 6, No. 4, 2018, pp 176-180. http://pubs.sciepub.com/ajwr/6/4/5
MLA Style
-Us-Sakib, Tamjid, et al. "Water Quality of Coal Ash Pond and Its Impact on Adjoining Surface and Groundwater Systems." American Journal of Water Resources 6.4 (2018): 176-180.
APA Style
-Us-Sakib, T. , Sultana, S. , Ahmed, A. N. , Khan, M. A. A. , & Saha, M. S. (2018). Water Quality of Coal Ash Pond and Its Impact on Adjoining Surface and Groundwater Systems. American Journal of Water Resources, 6(4), 176-180.
Chicago Style
-Us-Sakib, Tamjid, Sharmin Sultana, Aninda Nafis Ahmed, Md. Anwar Arfien Khan, and Madhu Sudan Saha. "Water Quality of Coal Ash Pond and Its Impact on Adjoining Surface and Groundwater Systems." American Journal of Water Resources 6, no. 4 (2018): 176-180.
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[1]  A.A. Khan, Saha M.S; Sultana S; Ahmed A.N; and Das R.C. 2013. Coal fly ash of barapukuria thermal power plant, Bangladesh: physico chemical properties assessment and utilization. International Journal of scientific & engineering research, 4(11) pp 1456-1460.
In article      
 
[2]  R.K. Grover, Jain. R and Singhai S. 2013. Operational & maintenance of tailings earth en dam especially for disposal of fly ash from thermal power stations. International Journal of scientific and research publications, volume 3, issue 2, pp1-4.
In article      
 
[3]  Sakib T. U and Sultana, M. S., “Assessment of Heavy Metals Contamination of Agricultural Field around Brick Kilns in Joypurhat District, Bangladesh”. International Journal of Science and Engineering Investigations. 6 (70), 98-105. 2017.
In article      
 
[4]  Abdullah EJ. Quality assessment for Shatt Al-Arab River using heavy metal pollution index and metal index. J Environ Earth Sci; 3(5): 114-20. 2013.
In article      
 
[5]  Prasad B, Bose J. M. Evaluation of the heavy metal pollution index for surface and spring water near a Limeston mining area of the lower Himalayas. Environ Geol; 41(1-2): 183-8. 2001.
In article      View Article
 
[6]  Maria-Alexandra H, Roman C, Ristoiu D, Popita G, Tanaselia C. Assessing of water quality pollution Indices for hevay metal contamination. A study case from Medias City groundwaters. Agric Sci Pract; 3-4: 25-31. (2013).
In article      
 
[7]  WHO, Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality, 4th ed. World Health (WHO) Organization. 2011.
In article      
 
[8]  FAO, Overall Study of the Messara Plain. Report on Study of the Water Resources and their Exploitation for Irrigation in Eastern Crete, FAO Report No. AGL:SF/GRE/31. 1972.
In article      
 
[9]  Indian Standard, Bureau of Indian Standards Drinking Water Specifications, BIS 10500:2012, New Delhi, India. 2012.
In article      
 
[10]  Bangladesh Standard (DoE), The environment conservation rules 1997. Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Dhaka. 1997.
In article      
 
[11]  S.J. Reddy, Encyclopaedia of Environmental Pollution and Control, vol. 1, Environmental Media, Karlia, India, p. 342. 1995.
In article      
 
[12]  S.V. Mohan, P. Nithila, S.J. Reddy, Estimation of heavy metal in drinking water and development of heavy metal pollution index, J. Environ. Sci. Health A31 283-289. 1996.
In article      View Article
 
[13]  Siegel F.R., Environmental geochemistry of potentially toxic metals. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. 2002.
In article      View Article
 
[14]  A.E. Edet, O.E. Offiong. Evaluation of water quality pollution indices for heavy metal contamination monitoring.A study case from Akpabuyo-Odukpani area, Lower Cross River Basin (southeastern Nigeria), GeoJournal 57 295-304. 2002.
In article      View Article
 
[15]  B. Backman, D. Bodis, P. Lahermo, S. Rapant, T. Tarvainen. Application of a groundwater contamination index in Finland and Slovakia, Environ. Geol. 36 55-64. 1997.
In article      View Article
 
[16]  Biswas P. K., Uddin N, Alam S, Sakib T. U, Sultana S, and Ahmed, T., “Evaluation of Heavy Metal Pollution Indices in Irrigation and Drinking Water Systems of Barapukuria Coal Mine Area, Bangladesh”, American Journal of Water Resources. 5(5), 146-151. 2017.
In article      
 
[17]  Pescod, M.B., “Wastewater treatment and use in agriculture”, Bull FAO, 47:125, Rome, 1992.
In article      
 
[18]  M.Y. Al-Ami, S.M. Al-Nakib, N.M. Ritha, A.M. Nouri, A. Al-Assina, Water quality index applied to the classification and zoning of Al-Jaysh canal, Bagdad, Iraq, J. Environ. Sci. Health A 22 305-319. 1987.
In article      
 
[19]  M. A. H. Bhuiyana, M.A. Islam, S.B. Dampare, L. Parvez, S. Suzukia, Evaluation of hazardous metal pollution in irrigation and drinking water systems in the vicinity of a coal mine area of northwestern Bangladesh, Journal of Hazardous Materials 179 1065-1077. 2010.
In article      View Article  PubMed