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Document Type

Book Chapter


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


C. Y. Kuo, T. M. Younos, editors

Publication Date


Book Title

Proceedings of the Chesapeake Bay Research Conference: Effects of Upland and Shoreline Land Use on the Chesapeake Bay


Not Identified


The safe disposal of fly ash from power plants remains a concern because of dwindling available disposal sites and potential or actual environmental consequences. During the period from 1957 to 1974, the Virginia Electric and Power Co. station at Yorktown used a mixture of coal and refinery coke for power generation. The fly ash and bottom ash byproducts were disposed of in borrow pits which drain into Chisman Creek, a small estuary near the York River. In 1980 a domestic well near the pits turned green and tests revealed high concentrations of V and Se in some wells. Subsequently, contaminated wells were capped and homes were connected to the municipal water supply.

In late 1981 with a small.grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment, we began a more detailed investigation of possible contamination from the pits. The sampling program included groundwater, surface water, estuarine water, flyash, soils near the pits, oysters and a variety of plants in the immediate vicinity. Most importantly, these samples were analyzed by PIXE (Proton-Induced X-Ray Emission), a sensitive and accurate multielemental technique which can simultaneously detect all elements from silicon to uranium without prior knowledge of the elements present.

Trace Element Contamination from Fly Ash Sites Near Chisholm Creek, VA