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Article

Valuable Secondary Habitats or Hazardous Ecological Traps? Environmental Risk Assessment of Minor and Trace Elements in Fly Ash Deposits across the Czech Republic

1
Institute of Entomology, Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
2
Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Viničná 7, 128 44 Prague, Czech Republic
3
Department of Ecosystem Biology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
4
SoWa Research Infrastructure, Biology Centre, The Czech Academy of Sciences, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
5
Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes, Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal
6
Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, 611 37 Brno, Czech Republic
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Lucian-Ionel Cioca and Elena Rada
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10385; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810385
Received: 12 August 2021 / Revised: 7 September 2021 / Accepted: 9 September 2021 / Published: 17 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection Risk Assessment and Management)
Deposits of coal combustion wastes, especially fly ash, are sources of environmental and health risks in industrial regions. Recently, fly ash deposits have been reported as habitat surrogates for some threatened arthropods in Central Europe. However, the potential environmental risks of fly ash have not yet been assessed in the region. We analysed concentrations of 19 minor and trace elements in 19 lignite combustion waste deposits in the Czech Republic. We assessed their environmental risks by comparison with the national and EU legislation limits, and with several commonly used indices. Over 50% of the samples exceeded the Czech national limits for As, Cu, V, or Zn, whilst only V exceeded the EU limits. For some studied elements, the high-risk indices were detected in several localities. Nevertheless, the measured water characteristics, the long-term presence of fly ash, previous leaching by acid rains, and the low amount of organic matter altogether can infer low biological availability of these elements. We presume the revealed high concentrations of some heavy metals at some studied sites can be harmful for some colonising species. Nevertheless, more ecotoxicological research on particular species is needed for final decision on their conservation potential for terrestrial and freshwater biota. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity conservation; coal combustion waste; energy industry; environmental pollution; human-made habitats; heavy metals biodiversity conservation; coal combustion waste; energy industry; environmental pollution; human-made habitats; heavy metals
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MDPI and ACS Style

Chmelová, E.; Kolar, V.; Jan, J.; Carreira, B.M.; Landeira-Dabarca, A.; Otáhalová, Š.; Poláková, M.; Vebrová, L.; Borovec, J.; Boukal, D.S.; Tropek, R. Valuable Secondary Habitats or Hazardous Ecological Traps? Environmental Risk Assessment of Minor and Trace Elements in Fly Ash Deposits across the Czech Republic. Sustainability 2021, 13, 10385. https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810385

AMA Style

Chmelová E, Kolar V, Jan J, Carreira BM, Landeira-Dabarca A, Otáhalová Š, Poláková M, Vebrová L, Borovec J, Boukal DS, Tropek R. Valuable Secondary Habitats or Hazardous Ecological Traps? Environmental Risk Assessment of Minor and Trace Elements in Fly Ash Deposits across the Czech Republic. Sustainability. 2021; 13(18):10385. https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810385

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chmelová, Eliška, Vojtech Kolar, Jiří Jan, Bruno M. Carreira, Andrea Landeira-Dabarca, Šárka Otáhalová, Martina Poláková, Lucie Vebrová, Jakub Borovec, David S. Boukal, and Robert Tropek. 2021. "Valuable Secondary Habitats or Hazardous Ecological Traps? Environmental Risk Assessment of Minor and Trace Elements in Fly Ash Deposits across the Czech Republic" Sustainability 13, no. 18: 10385. https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810385

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