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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Elemental Composition of Saltcedar (Tamarix chinensis) Impacted by Effluents from a Coal-Fired Power Plant1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 10 No. 3, p. 410-416
    Received: June 9, 1980

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  1. David R. Dreesen and
  2. Lawrence E. Wangen2



The riparian shrub, saltcedar (Tamarix chinensis), was sampled in channels receiving effluents from a coal-fired power plant. Sources of these effluents included decant from coal ash/scrubber sludge disposal ponds, seepage from these ponds, and blowdown from the cooling lake. In addition, saltcedar was collected from an ephemeral stream channel both upstream and downstream from the input of these effluents. Green-leaf and branch material was analyzed for B, Cu, K, Mg, Na, Li, Sr, Ti, Al, Si, Fe, Mn, P, V, Mo, and Zn in both washed and unwashed samples. The goals of this study were to determine if elevated concentrations of trace, minor, and major elements were present in this species growing adjacent to effluent streams and whether these elements were present as surficial contaminants.

Washed saltcedar samples were enriched in Mo, B, Cu, K, Mg, Li, Mn, P, and Zn for one or more effluent channel locations. Unwashed saltcedar samples were enriched in soil or coal ash matrix elements (Si, Al, Ti, Ba, and Fe). These elements appeared to be present in coal ash particles deposited on the plant surfaces. More than 80% of these surficial contaminants were removed by washing. In addition to these elements, unwashed saltcedar samples from effluent channels were enriched in Mo, B, Cu, K, Mg, Li, Mn, P, and Zn compared with upstream values. The elements Ca, Na, and Sr were depleted in this species growing in some effluent channels. The results of this study indicated that B is the coal ash contaminant most likely to be absorbed and translocated by plants exposed to such coal-fired power plant effluents.

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