Legacy source of mercury in an urban stream-wetland ecosystem in central North Carolina, USA.
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In the United States, aquatic mercury contamination originates from point and non-point sources to watersheds. Here, we studied the contribution of mercury in urban runoff derived from historically contaminated soils and the subsequent production of methylmercury in a stream-wetland complex (Durham, North Carolina), the receiving water of this runoff. Our results demonstrated that the mercury originated from the leachate of grass-covered athletic fields. A fraction of mercury in this soil existed as phenylmercury, suggesting that mercurial anti-fungal compounds were historically applied to this soil. Further downstream in the anaerobic sediments of the stream-wetland complex, a fraction (up to 9%) of mercury was converted to methylmercury, the bioaccumulative form of the metal. Importantly, the concentrations of total mercury and methylmercury were reduced to background levels within the stream-wetland complex. Overall, this work provides an example of a legacy source of mercury that should be considered in urban watershed models and watershed management.
Water Pollutants, Chemical
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.12.038
Publication InfoCai, Yong; Deonarine, A; Hsu-Kim, Heileen; Richardson, Curtis J; & Zhang, T (2015). Legacy source of mercury in an urban stream-wetland ecosystem in central North Carolina, USA. Chemosphere, 138. pp. 960-965. 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.12.038. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10161/15706.
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Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor Heileen (Helen) Hsu-Kim is an environmental engineer who specializes in environmental aquatic chemistry and geochemistry. Her research tackles problems related to pollutant metals and the biogeochemical processes that alter their distribution in water, soil, and air. The applications of this work include environmental remediation technologies, the impacts of energy production on water resources, global environmental health, and the environmental implications and applications of nanotec
John O. Blackburn Professor
Curtis J. Richardson is Professor of Resource Ecology and founding Director of the Duke University Wetland Center in the Nicholas School of the Environment. Dr. Richardson earned his degrees from the State University of New York and the University of Tennessee. His research interests in applied ecology focus on long-term ecosystem response to large-scale perturbations such as climate change, toxic materials, trace metals, flooding, or nutrient additions. He has specific interests in phosphor
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