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Distribution and transport of total mercury and methylmercury in mercury-contaminated sediments in reservoirs and wetlands of the Sudbury River, east-central Massachusetts

Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4060

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Abstract

Total mercury and methylmercury were measured in 4 reservoir cores and 12 wetland cores from Sudbury River. The distribution of total mercury and methylmercury in these cores was evaluated to determine the potential for total mercury and methylmercury transport from reservoir and wetlands sediments to the water column. Concentrations of methylmercury were corrected for an analytical artifact introduced during the separation distillation used in the analysis procedure. Corrected methylmercury concentrations correlated with total mercury concentrations in bulk sediment from below the top layers of reservoir and wetland cores; methylmercury concentrations at the top layers of cores were relatively high, however, and were not correlated with total mercury concentrations. Concentrations of methylmercury in pore water were positively correlated with methylmercury concentrations in the bulk sediment. High concentrations of total mercury and methylmercury in sediment (73 and 0.047 micrograms per gram dry-weight basis, respectively) contributed less to the water column in the reservoir than in the wetlands probably because of burial by low concentration sediment and differences in the processes available to transport mercury from the sediments to the water in the reservoirs, as compared to the wetlands .

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Distribution and transport of total mercury and methylmercury in mercury-contaminated sediments in reservoirs and wetlands of the Sudbury River, east-central Massachusetts
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
99-4060
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1999
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ; Information Services [distributor],
Description:
iv, 15 p. :ill., map ;28 cm.