A baseline assessment of local mercury deposition from coal-fired power plants in Central Texas.
Coal-fired power plants represent the largest source of anthropogenic mercury in the world. The Central Texas region as represented by the Heart of Texas Council of Governments contains two coal-fired power plants located in Freestone and Limestone Counties. A third plant, Sandy Creek, is currently being proposed for McLennan County. The primary objective of the study is to estimate the amount of mercury being deposited via wet deposition in 2003 from two existing power plants in Central Texas, Big Brown and Limestone, and predict deposition from a proposed plant, Sandy Creek. The Industrial Source Code Short-Term model was used to estimate wet deposition, and empirical data was collected to determine the mercury levels in environs near the plants. According to the research and statistical analyses, the Central Texas power plants studied appear to be having no impact on the water quality of area surface waters.