The sediments in the Gulf of Trieste (northern Adriatic Sea, Italy) are contaminated by mercury (Hg) due to historic mining which took place in Idrija (Slovenia). Despite many studies having been done regarding Hg, no information is available on the potential impact of dredging required along the main channel approaching the Port of Monfalcone. Sixteen surface sediment samples were collected along the channel to determine both total Hg concentration and chemical species using the thermo-desorption (TD) technique. Six samples were also chosen to apply a selective sequential extraction (SSE). The TD technique showed the maximum Hg release approximately at 260 and 335°C, corresponding to metacinnabar (β-HgS) and cinnabar (α-HgS), respectively. The SSE demonstrated that Hg was mainly associated with poorly soluble or insoluble compounds (98.7%). A resuspension event over a limited period of time can be considered of negligible impact to the water column due to the scarce Hg mobility from sediments.

Can Sediments Contaminated by Mining be a Source of Mercury in the Coastal Environment Due to Dredging? Evidence from Thermo‑Desorption and Chemical Speciation

Stefano Covelli
;
Elisa Petranich;Elena Pavoni;
2021

Abstract

The sediments in the Gulf of Trieste (northern Adriatic Sea, Italy) are contaminated by mercury (Hg) due to historic mining which took place in Idrija (Slovenia). Despite many studies having been done regarding Hg, no information is available on the potential impact of dredging required along the main channel approaching the Port of Monfalcone. Sixteen surface sediment samples were collected along the channel to determine both total Hg concentration and chemical species using the thermo-desorption (TD) technique. Six samples were also chosen to apply a selective sequential extraction (SSE). The TD technique showed the maximum Hg release approximately at 260 and 335°C, corresponding to metacinnabar (β-HgS) and cinnabar (α-HgS), respectively. The SSE demonstrated that Hg was mainly associated with poorly soluble or insoluble compounds (98.7%). A resuspension event over a limited period of time can be considered of negligible impact to the water column due to the scarce Hg mobility from sediments.
15-feb-2021
Epub ahead of print
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00128-021-03159-x
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2981433
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