Prediction of Mercury Distribution in River Sediments

by Akira Kudo, Research Officer; Div. of Biological Sciences, National Research Council of Canada Labs., Ottawa, Canada and Visiting Prof., Univ. of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada,
Donald R. Miller, Dir.; Ottawa River Project, Div. of Biological Sciences, National Research Council of Canada Labs., Ottawa, Canada,
Ronald D. Townsend, Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1977, Vol. 103, Issue 4, Pg. 605-614

Document Type: Journal Paper


Field studies on a 4.9-km reach of the Ottawa River confirmed that mercury in the system is almost completely (approx 97%) associated with the bed sediments. However, mercury concentration varies widely in the study section and is a function of particle size and type of sediments. A laboratory study, in which the distribution of radioactive mercury among various sediment components was monitored under dynamic conditions, does lead to predictions of mercury concentrations that closely match observed field values. Sediments with high organic content, in particular the wood chips and fiber deposits common in the Ottawa River, have associated with them 50 times the amounts of mercury associated with sand particles on a weight per weight basis. The results emphasize the importance of performing material classification and binding affinity analysis.

Subject Headings: Field tests | Laboratory tests | Mercury (chemical) | Rivers and streams | Sediment | Bed materials | Particle size distribution | Wood

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