Author(s): Birkett JW, Noreng JM, Lester JN, Birkett JW, Noreng JM, Lester JN
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Abstract Concentrations of total mercury (T-Hg) were determined in sediments and riparian (bankside) soils from the River Yare, Norfolk, UK to assess the current extent of contamination arising from a historical point source discharge. The results demonstrate that the spatial distribution pattern in surficial sediments and soils follows that of a distinct pollution plume with an initial increase 2-3 km downstream from the point source discharge at Whitlingham Sewage Treatment Works (STW) outfall. Average T-Hg concentrations in the surficial sediments ranged from 0.1 to 8.13 mg kg(-1); bankside soil concentrations ranged from 0.1 to 2.63 mg kg(-1). There has been a decline in downstream background sediment concentrations of Hg over time. This is likely to be the result of burial by fresh relatively uncontaminated sediments and possibly in the lower reach as a consequence of the influence of the freshwater-saline interface occurring near Cantley. Channel morphology was also shown to be an important factor in determining the large variations of Hg concentrations between sample points within transects. The predominant source of Hg to the soils appears to be due to dredging and the deposition of sediments during flooding.
This article was published in Environ Pollut
and referenced in Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology