American Society of Civil Engineers

Resuspension of Mercury-Contaminated Sediments from an In-Lake Industrial Waste Deposit

by Emmet M. Owens, (corresponding author), (Res. Engr., Upstate Freshwater Inst., P.O. Box 506, Syracuse, NY 13214 E-mail:, Revital Bookman, (Univ. of Haifa, Charney School of Marine Sci., Dr. Moses Strauss Dept. of Marine Geosci., Mt. Carmel, Haifa, Israel 31904. E-mail:, Steven W. Effler, (Dir. of Res., Upstate Freshwater Inst., P.O.Box 506, Syracuse, NY 13214. E-mail:, Charles T. Driscoll, (Univ. Prof., Syracuse Univ., Syracuse, NY 13244. E-mail:, David A. Matthews, (Res. Scientist, Upstate Freshwater Inst., P.O. Box 506, Syracuse, NY 13214. E-mail:, and Adam J. P. Effler, (Res. Scientist, Upstate Freshwater Inst., P.O.Box 506, Syracuse, NY 13214. E-mail:

Journal of Environmental Engineering, Vol. 135, No. 7, July 2009, pp. 526-534, (doi:

     Access full text
     Purchase Subscription
     Permissions for Reuse  

Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: The resuspension and transport of particulate mercury (HgP) from a nearshore industrial waste deposit to the pelagic zone of Onondaga Lake, N.Y., was investigated using an array of sediment traps radiating from the deposit, and quantified through application of a steady-state mass balance model. Time-averaged downward fluxes of suspended solids and HgP decreased in the offshore direction, indicating a nearshore source. Strong temporal variations in resuspension were documented and were linked to the dynamics of wind-driven wave action, as quantified by a validated surface wave model. A simple steady-state model of offshore transport from the resuspension zone, which assumes a balance between offshore transport and settling, was used to analyze sediment trap data. The resulting larger, and likely more accurate, estimate of HgP resuspension (~60 g day-1) represents the dominant contemporary source to the water column. This result supports the planned remediation of this source as a part of a Superfund cleanup project.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Industrial wastes
Mass transport
Mercury (chemical)