Concentrations of mercury (Hg) were measured in six dated cores from four lakes in western Whatcom County, Washington, USA, that were at various bearings from a chlor-alkali plant, two municipal waste incinerators and a municipal sewage sludge incinerator. The importance of atmospheric emissions of Hg from these local municipal and industrial sources was evaluating by comparing the temporal trends in sedimentation of the lake cores with the emission history of each Hg species and by examining the geographical distribution of Hg sedimentation in relation to the region's primary wind pattern. Local municipal and industrial sources of atmospheric Hg were not responsible for the majority of the Hg in the upper layer of sediments of Whatcom County lakes because of (1) the significant enrichment of Hg in lake sediments prior to emissions of local industrial and municipal sources in 1964, (2) smaller increases in Hg concentrations occurred after 1964, (3) the similarity of maximum enrichments found in Whatcom County lakes to those in rural lakes around the world, (4) the inconsistency of the temporal trends in Hg sedimentation with the local emission history, and (5) the inconsistency of the geographic trends in Hg sedimentation with estimated deposition. Maximum enrichment ratios of Hg in lake sediments between 2 and 3 that are similar to rural areas in Alaska, Minnesota, and New England suggest that global sources of Hg were primarily responsible for increases of Hg in Whatcom County lakes beginning about 1900. ?? 2007 GovernmentEmployee: U.S. Government, Department of Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.
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Mercury sedimentation in lakes in western Whatcom County, Washington, USA and its relation to local industrial and municipal atmospheric sources