Legacy source of mercury in an urban stream-wetland ecosystem in central North Carolina, USA.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

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.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Deonarine, A; Hsu-Kim, H; Zhang, T; Cai, Y; Richardson, CJ

Published Date

  • November 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 138 /

Start / End Page

  • 960 - 965

PubMed ID

  • 25577695

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1879-1298

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0045-6535

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.12.038


  • eng