Mercury in precipitation was monitored during 2001 through 2003 at four locations in Indiana as part of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program-Mercury Deposition Network (NADP-MDN). Monitoring stations were operated at Roush Lake near Huntington, Clifty Falls State Park near Madison, Monroe County Regional Airport near Bloomington, and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore near Porter. At these monitoring stations, precipitation amounts were measured and weekly samples were collected for analysis of total mercury and methylmercury by low-level methods. Wet deposition was computed with the total mercury and methylmercury concentrations and the precipitation amounts.
In 3 years of weekly samples collected at the four monitoring stations, the volume-weighted total mercury concentration was 11.5 ng/L (nanograms per liter). As a reference for comparison, the total mercury concentration in 47 percent of the samples analyzed was greater than the Indiana water-quality standard for mercury (12 ng/L, protecting aquatic life) and nearly all of the concentrations exceeded the Indiana water-quality standards for mercury in the Great Lakes system (1.8 ng/L, protecting human health, and 1.3 ng/L, protecting wild mammals and birds). The precipitation-weighted concentrations at three of the monitoring stations in Indiana in 2003 were in the top 40 percent of all monitoring stations in the NADP-MDN and the concentration at Indiana Dunes was the eighth highest in the NADP-MDN for 2003.
At the four monitoring stations during the study period, the mean weekly total mercury deposition was 243 ng/m2 (nanograms per square meter) and mean annual total mercury deposition was 12,623 ng/m2. The annual mercury deposition at the four monitoring stations in Indiana in 2003 was in the top 40 percent of all monitoring stations in the NADP-MDN and the annual mercury deposition at the Clifty Falls station was the tenth highest in the NADP-MDN for 2003.
For the 3-year period, the median methylmercury concentration in weekly samples was 0.058 ng/L with a maximum of 5.77 ng/L. Normalized methylmercury deposition was 2.09 ng/m2 per inch of precipitation and methylmercury deposition was 0.7 percent of the total mercury deposition. The annual and mean weekly methylmercury deposition was highest at the Roush Lake station. Among the monitoring stations in the NADP-MDN with methylmercury data, methylmercury deposition at the monitoring stations in Indiana appeared to be higher than at eight stations in Wisconsin and Minnesota for that same time period, although methylmercury concentrations in Indiana were similar to or lower than those in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Geographically, the weekly total mercury concentrations at Indiana Dunes and Clifty Falls were statistically higher than concentrations at Bloomington, although a statistical difference in weekly total mercury deposition was not found among the four monitoring stations. Annual mercury emissions from sources in the vicinity of Indiana Dunes and Clifty Falls in 2001 were more than 10 times those at Bloomington, although other factors may help explain the differences in total mercury concentrations, such as the types of mercury emissions, mercury transport from sources outside Indiana, and meteorological conditions.
Mercury concentrations and deposition varied at the four monitoring stations during the 3-year period. Total mercury concentrations in weekly samples ranged from 1.54 to 77 ng/L and weekly mercury deposition ranged from 0.8 to 2,456 ng/m2. Data from weekly samples exhibited seasonal patterns. Total mercury concentrations and deposition were highest in spring and summer and lowest in winter. Methylmercury concentrations were highest in winter and methylmercury deposition was highest in spring. Annual precipitation at the four monitoring stations was highest in 2003, exceeding the precipitation normals in spring and summer 2003. Annual mercury deposition in 2003 at the Roush Lake, Clifty F
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Mercury in Precipitation in Indiana, January 2001-December 2003