Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Paul, Varun G.

Committee Member

Haney, Christa

Committee Member

Ezell, John

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only


Environmental Geoscience

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


Trace element sediment pollution due to coal power plants have been reported in many countries. In this study, pond sediment samples collected from locations around a coal fired power plant in Ackerman, MS, were evaluated for their trace element concentration and pollution status. The samples were collected at two depths to study changes in element accumulation over time. The samples were digested and the elements, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Hg, and Zn were analyzed using ICP-MS. Results were then compared to known background concentrations as well as sediment quality guidelines and pollution thresholds. The sample locations downwind of the facility had the highest average trace element concentrations, indicating that wind is a primary driver in trace element transportation. With the potential for bioaccumulation and prevalent agricultural activity in the surrounding area, it could eventually affect humans in a negative manner and result in adverse health outcomes for nearby residents.