Selenium pollution from coal ash wastewater was investigated in Lake Sutton, NC. This lake has been continuously used as a cooling pond for a coal-fired power plant since 1972. Historic and recent levels of contamination in fish tissues (14-105µg Se/g dry weight in liver, 24-127 in eggs, 4-23 in muscle, 7-38 in whole-body) exceeded toxic thresholds and teratogenic effects were observed in fish collected in 2013. A high proportion (28.9 percent) of juvenile Lepomis spp. exhibited spinal and craniofacial malformations that were consistent with selenium poisoning. Teratogenic Deformity Index values indicated population-level impacts on the fishery. The partially monetized cost of resultant fishery losses was calculated at over $US 8.6 million annually, and over $US 217 million for the entire period of damage, which dates back to 1987 when chemical and biological monitoring began.
Keywords: Coal ash; Damage cost; Damage value; Fish deformities; Selenium; Terata.
Published by Elsevier Inc.