The Potential Impacts on Aquatic Ecosystems from the Release of Trace Elements in Geothermal Fluids

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Geothermal energy will likely constitute an increasing percentage of our nation's future energy ''mix,'' both for electrical and nonelectrical uses. Associated with the exploitation of geothermal resources is the handling and disposal of fluids which contain a wide variety of potentially toxic trace elements. We present analyses of 14 trace elements found in hydrothermal fluids from various geothermal reservoirs in the western United States. The concentrations of these elements vary over orders of magnitude between reservoirs. Potential impacts are conservatively assessed on the basis of (1) toxicity to freshwater biota, and (2) bioaccumulation in food fish to the point where ... continued below

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28 pages

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Cushman, R.M. March 14, 2000.

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Description

Geothermal energy will likely constitute an increasing percentage of our nation's future energy ''mix,'' both for electrical and nonelectrical uses. Associated with the exploitation of geothermal resources is the handling and disposal of fluids which contain a wide variety of potentially toxic trace elements. We present analyses of 14 trace elements found in hydrothermal fluids from various geothermal reservoirs in the western United States. The concentrations of these elements vary over orders of magnitude between reservoirs. Potential impacts are conservatively assessed on the basis of (1) toxicity to freshwater biota, and (2) bioaccumulation in food fish to the point where consumption might be hazardous to human health. Trace element concentrations generally range from benign levels to levels which might prove toxic to freshwater biota and contaminate food fisheries. We stress the need for site-specific analyses and careful handling of geothermal fluids in order to minimize potential impacts.

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28 pages

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  • Other Information: PBD: 14 Mar 2000

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  • Report No.: ORNL/TM-6057
  • Grant Number: AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/814380 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 814380
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc737620

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Creation Date

  • March 14, 2000

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • March 31, 2016, 1:12 p.m.

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Cushman, R.M. The Potential Impacts on Aquatic Ecosystems from the Release of Trace Elements in Geothermal Fluids, report, March 14, 2000; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc737620/: accessed July 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.