Some general facts, uncertainties and gaps in current knowledge of Hg cycling in coastal and oceanic environments are given. As a case study the Gulf of Trieste is chosen. The Gulf is subject to substantial Hg pollution, originating from the So˘ca river, that drains the cinnabar deposits of the world’s second largest Hg mining area, Idrija, Slovenia. The Gulf belongs to one of the most polluted areas in the Mediterranean. Apart from Hg problems, the Gulf is also a subject to industrial and sewage pollution. Due to deteriorating water quality in the Gulf there is a great concern that Hg can be remobilized from sediments to the water column as well as enhance methylation rates which may consequently increase already elevated Hg levels in aquatic organisms. The paper presents data from a recent study which aims to assess the extent of contamination of the Gulf of Trieste after the closure of the Hg mine. Mercury and methylmercury were measured in various environmental compartments estuarine and marine waters, sediments, and organisms. during the period 1995]1997. Data obtained show that even 10 years after closure of the Hg mine, Hg concentrations in river sediments and water are still very high and did not show the expected decrease of Hg in the Gulf of Trieste. A provisional annual mercury mass balance was established for the Gulf of Trieste showing that the major source of inorganic mercury is still the River Soca Isonzo. while the major source of methylmercury is the bottom sediment of the Gulf.

Mercury in contaminated coastal environment; A case study: The Gulf of Trieste

COVELLI, STEFANO;
1999

Abstract

Some general facts, uncertainties and gaps in current knowledge of Hg cycling in coastal and oceanic environments are given. As a case study the Gulf of Trieste is chosen. The Gulf is subject to substantial Hg pollution, originating from the So˘ca river, that drains the cinnabar deposits of the world’s second largest Hg mining area, Idrija, Slovenia. The Gulf belongs to one of the most polluted areas in the Mediterranean. Apart from Hg problems, the Gulf is also a subject to industrial and sewage pollution. Due to deteriorating water quality in the Gulf there is a great concern that Hg can be remobilized from sediments to the water column as well as enhance methylation rates which may consequently increase already elevated Hg levels in aquatic organisms. The paper presents data from a recent study which aims to assess the extent of contamination of the Gulf of Trieste after the closure of the Hg mine. Mercury and methylmercury were measured in various environmental compartments estuarine and marine waters, sediments, and organisms. during the period 1995]1997. Data obtained show that even 10 years after closure of the Hg mine, Hg concentrations in river sediments and water are still very high and did not show the expected decrease of Hg in the Gulf of Trieste. A provisional annual mercury mass balance was established for the Gulf of Trieste showing that the major source of inorganic mercury is still the River Soca Isonzo. while the major source of methylmercury is the bottom sediment of the Gulf.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/1692682
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