Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 11:45 AM
SIMULATION AND ANALYSIS OF GROUNDWATER IN CONTACT WITH LIGNITE COAL AND INCIDENCE OF LIGNITE-WATER SYNDROME IN ARKANSAS
Lignite, a low rank coal, is found in several regions in Arkansas. Arkansas lignite stretches at depth from southwest to northeast along the eastern state border. Shallow beds exist in the southwestern-central and northeastern section of the state. Researchers in the US and other parts of the world have shown a possible connection between groundwater in contact with lignite and the incidence of kidney disease and upper urinary tract cancers (known as lignite water syndrome). Water in contact with lignite coal has been shown to extract organic compounds that could impact human health. We performed laboratory leaching experiments to identify and trace the organic compounds in a variety of coals from Arkansas. We sampled and analyzed groundwater to identify and quantify the chemical components and properties of the water in aquifers surrounding lignite beds. We analyzed statistics from the Arkansas Department of Health to determine if there is an increase in kidney disease in a region with a large amount of lignite, and evaluated these health results in context with the leaching experiments and groundwater analysis.