Removal of inorganic mercury and methylmercury from surface waters following coagulation of dissolved organic matter with metal-based salts

Science of the Total Environment
By: , and 

Links

Abstract

The presence of inorganic mercury (IHg) and methylmercury (MeHg) in surface waters is a health concern worldwide. This study assessed the removal potential use of metal-based coagulants as a means to remove both dissolved IHg and MeHg from natural waters and provides information regarding the importance of Hg associations with the dissolved organic matter (DOM) fraction and metal hydroxides. Previous research indicated coagulants were not effective at removing Hg from solution; however these studies used high concentrations of Hg and did not reflect naturally occurring concentrations of Hg. In this study, water collected from an agricultural drain in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was filtered to isolate the dissolved organic matter (DOM) fraction. The DOM was then treated with a range of coagulant doses to determine the efficacy of removing all forms of Hg from solution. Three industrial-grade coagulants were tested: ferric chloride, ferric sulfate, and polyaluminum chloride. Coagulation removed up to 85% of DOM from solution. In the absence of DOM, all three coagulants released IHg into solution, however in the presence of DOM the coagulants removed up to 97% of IHg and 80% of MeHg. Results suggest that the removal of Hg is mediated by DOM-coagulant interactions. There was a preferential association of IHg with the more aromatic, higher molecular weight fraction of DOM but no such relationship was found for MeHg. This study offers new fundamental insights regarding large-scale removal of Hg at environmentally relevant regarding large-scale removal of Hg at environmentally relevant concentrations.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Removal of inorganic mercury and methylmercury from surface waters following coagulation of dissolved organic matter with metal-based salts
Series title Science of the Total Environment
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.10.030
Volume 409
Issue 3
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center
Description 7 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Science of the Total Environment
First page 631
Last page 637