The history of mercury pollution near the Spolana chlor-alkali plant (Neratovice, Czech Republic) as recorded by Scots pine tree rings and other bioindicators

Science of the Total Environment
By: , and 

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Abstract

We assessed > 100 years of mercury (Hg) pollution recorded in the tree rings of Scots Pine near a Czech chlor-alkali plant operating since 1941. Hg concentrations in tree rings increased with the launching of plant operations and decreased when Hg emissions decreased in 1975 due to an upgrade in production technology. Similar to traditional bioindicators of pollution such as pine needles, bark and forest floor humus, Hg concentrations in Scots Pine boles decreased with distance from the plant. Mean Hg in pine bole in the 1940s ranged from 32.5 μg/kg Hg at a distance of 0.5 km from the plant to 5.4 μg/kg at a distance of > 4.7 km, where tree ring Hg was the same as at a reference site, and other bioindicators also suggest that the effect of the plant was no longer discernible. Tree ring Hg concentrations decreased by 8–29 μg/kg since the 1940s at all study sites including the reference site. The lack of exact correspondence between changes at the plant and tree ring Hg indicated some smearing of the signal due to lateral translocation of Hg from sapwood to heartwood. Bole Hg concentrations reflected local and regional atmospheric Hg concentrations, and not Hg wet deposition.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The history of mercury pollution near the Spolana chlor-alkali plant (Neratovice, Czech Republic) as recorded by Scots pine tree rings and other bioindicators
Series title Science of the Total Environment
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.02.112
Edition 1182
Volume 586
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) New England Water Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 1192
Country Czech Republic
City Neratovice
Other Geospatial Spolana chlor-alkali plant