U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 2005-1354
Selenium is a naturally occurring element that is both an essential micronutrient and is toxic to aquatic wildlife at concentrations exceeding sufficiency. Industrial activities such as surface mining may result in selenium concentrations exceeding regulatory criteria for the protection of wildlife, which is currently (2005) 5 micrograms per liter (µg/L). During July 1980, selected streams in eastern Kentucky were sampled as part of the Coal Hydrology Monitoring program. Water samples were collected at 105 streamgaging stations in regions with mineable coal reserves. These water samples were analyzed for concentration of total selenium, as well as other constituents. Additionally, streambed-sediment samples were collected at 87 of these stations and were analyzed for concentration of coal. Concentration of total selenium in water, concentration of coal in bottom material, and field-measurement data for these samples were compiled from the U.S. Geological Survey Kentucky Water Science Center water-quality database and associated project files and are tabulated in this report. Of the 105 stream-water samples, 30 samples had concentrations of total selenium greater than the minimum detection level of 1 µg/L. The maximum value reported for concentration of total selenium in stream water was 6 µg/L. Coal was present in all 87 streambed-sediment samples collected with values ranging from 1 to 60 grams per kilogram.
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Purpose and Scope
Description of Study Area
Methods of Investigation
Downing-Kunz, M.A., Unthank, M.D., and Crain, A.S., 2005, Compilation of Concentrations of Total Selenium in Water, Coal in Bottom Material, and Field Measurement Data for Selected Streams in Eastern Kentucky, July 1980: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005-1354, 11 p.
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