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Scientific Investigations Report 2007–5063

Mercury in Precipitation in Indiana,
January 2001–December 2003

By Martin R. Risch


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Abstract

Mercury in precipitation was monitored during 2001 through 2003 at four locations in Indiana as part of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program-Mercury Deposition Network (NADP-MDN). Monitoring stations were operated at Roush Lake near Huntington, Clifty Falls State Park near Madison, Monroe County Regional Airport near Bloomington, and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore near Porter. At these monitoring stations, precipitation amounts were measured and weekly samples were collected for analysis of total mercury and methylmercury by low-level methods. Wet deposition was computed with the total mercury and methylmercury concentrations and the precipitation amounts.

In 3 years of weekly samples collected at the four monitoring stations, the volume-weighted total mercury concentration was 11.5 ng/L (nanograms per liter). As a reference for comparison, the total mercury concentration in 47 percent of the samples analyzed was greater than the Indiana water-quality standard for mercury (12 ng/L, protecting aquatic life) and nearly all of the concentrations exceeded the Indiana water-quality standards for mercury in the Great Lakes system (1.8 ng/L, protecting human health, and 1.3 ng/L, protecting wild mammals and birds). The precipitation-weighted concentrations at three of the monitoring stations in Indiana in 2003 were in the top 40 percent of all monitoring stations in the NADP-MDN and the concentration at Indiana Dunes was the eighth highest in the NADP-MDN for 2003.

At the four monitoring stations during the study period, the mean weekly total mercury deposition was 243 ng/m2 (nanograms per square meter) and mean annual total mercury deposition was 12,623 ng/m2. The annual mercury deposition at the four monitoring stations in Indiana in 2003 was in the top 40 percent of all monitoring stations in the NADP-MDN and the annual mercury deposition at the Clifty Falls station was the tenth highest in the NADP-MDN for 2003.

For the 3-year period, the median methylmercury concentration in weekly samples was 0.058 ng/L with a maximum of 5.77 ng/L. Normalized methylmercury deposition was 2.09 ng/m2 per inch of precipitation and methylmercury deposition was 0.7 percent of the total mercury deposition. The annual and mean weekly methylmercury deposition was highest at the Roush Lake station. Among the monitoring stations in the NADP-MDN with methylmercury data, methylmercury deposition at the monitoring stations in Indiana appeared to be higher than at eight stations in Wisconsin and Minnesota for that same time period, although methylmercury concentrations in Indiana were similar to or lower than those in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Geographically, the weekly total mercury concentrations at Indiana Dunes and Clifty Falls were statistically higher than concentrations at Bloomington, although a statistical difference in weekly total mercury deposition was not found among the four monitoring stations. Annual mercury emissions from sources in the vicinity of Indiana Dunes and Clifty Falls in 2001 were more than 10 times those at Bloomington, although other factors may help explain the differences in total mercury concentrations, such as the types of mercury emissions, mercury transport from sources outside Indiana, and meteorological conditions.

Mercury concentrations and deposition varied at the four monitoring stations during the 3-year period. Total mercury concentrations in weekly samples ranged from 1.54 to 77 ng/L and weekly mercury deposition ranged from 0.8 to 2,456 ng/m2. Data from weekly samples exhibited seasonal patterns. Total mercury concentrations and deposition were highest in spring and summer and lowest in winter. Methylmercury concentrations were highest in winter and methylmercury deposition was highest in spring. Annual precipitation at the four monitoring stations was highest in 2003, exceeding the precipitation normals in spring and summer 2003. Annual mercury deposition in 2003 at the Roush Lake, Clifty Falls, and Indiana Dunes was as much as 41 to 67 percent higher in 2003 than in 2001 or in 2002 at those stations.

Total mercury deposition that was more than 10 percent of the mean annual deposition (1,262 ng/m2) was recorded in 11 of 551 weekly samples from the study period. These samples contained approximately 3 inches or more of rain and most were collected in spring and summer 2003. The highest deposition (2,456 ng/m2 in a sample from Roush Lake) was 15.7 percent of the annual deposition at that station and approximately 10 times the mean weekly deposition for Indiana. High deposition recorded in three weekly samples at Clifty Falls contributed 31 percent of the annual deposition at that station in 2003. Weekly samples with high mercury deposition may help to explain the differences in annual mercury deposition among the four monitoring stations in Indiana.

Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Purpose and Scope

Description of the Study Area

Mercury in the Environment

Mercury in Fish

Mercury in the Atmosphere

The Mercury Cycle

Sources of Mercury

Mercury Monitoring in Indiana

Study Methods

Selection of Monitoring Locations

Instrumentation of Monitoring Stations

Collection and Analysis of Precipitation Samples

Quality Assurance

Data Management and Reporting

Mercury in Precipitation in Indiana

Weekly Samples

Total Mercury

Methylmercury

Geographic and Temporal Variability of Mercury in Precipitation

Geographic Variability

Seasonal Patterns

Episodes of High Mercury Deposition

Precipitation Normals

Summary and Conclusions

Acknowledgments

References Cited

Appendix 1-1. Weekly precipitation, total mercury, and methylmercury at Roush Lake monitoring station near Huntington, Indiana,

January 2001–December 2003.

Appendix 1-2. Weekly precipitation, total mercury, and methylmercury at Clifty Falls monitoring station near Madison, Indiana,

January 2001–December 2003.

Appendix 1-3. Weekly precipitation, total mercury, and methylmercury at Bloomington monitoring station near Bloomington, Indiana,

January 2001–December 2003.

Appendix 1-4. Weekly precipitation, total mercury, and methylmercury at Indiana Dunes monitoring station near Porter, Indiana,

January 2001–December 2003.

Appendix 2-1. Summary of laboratory quality assurance January 2001–December 2003.

Figures

1. Schematic showing sources of mercury and mercury cycling in aquatic ecosystems.
  2–7. Maps showing:
2. Locations of National Atmospheric Deposition Program Mercury Deposition Network monitoring stations in North America,
    spring 2003.
3. Monitoring locations for mercury in precipitation in Indiana, 2001–2003.
4. Roush Lake monitoring station for mercury in precipitation in Indiana, with nearby stationary sources of mercury emissions.
5. Clifty Falls monitoring station for mercury in precipitation in Indiana, with nearby stationary sources of mercury emissions.
6. Bloomington monitoring station for mercury in precipitation in Indiana, with nearby stationary sources of mercury emissions.
7. Indiana Dunes monitoring station for mercury in precipitation in Indiana, with nearby stationary sources of mercury emissions.
8. Photograph of automated precipitation sampler at monitoring station for mercury in precipitation in Indiana.
9. Diagram of automated precipitation sampler at monitoring station for mercury in precipitation in Indiana.
10. Photograph of recording rain gage at monitoring station for mercury in precipitation in Indiana.
11–13. Maps showing:
11. Distribution of total mercury concentrations in weekly samples at four monitoring stations for mercury in precipitation in
     Indiana, January 2001–December 2003.
12. Distribution of total mercury deposition in weekly samples at four monitoring stations for mercury in precipitation in
     Indiana, January 2001–December 2003.
13. Annual total mercury deposition and annual precipitation at four monitoring stations for mercury in precipitation in
     Indiana, January 2001–December 2003.
14. Map showing National Atmospheric Deposition Program Mercury Deposition Network monitoring stations with annual precipitation-
     weighted total mercury concentrations in 2003 and ranges of total mercury concentrations for eastern North America.
15. Map showing National Atmospheric Deposition Program Mercury Deposition Network monitoring stations with annual total mercury
     deposition in 2003 and ranges of total mercury deposition for eastern North America.
16. Graphs showing seasonal total mercury deposition and seasonal precipitation at four monitoring stations for mercury in
     precipitation in Indiana, January 2001–December 2003.
17. Graphs showing seasonal precipitation at four monitoring stations for mercury in precipitation in Indiana, January 2001–
     December 2003, with precipitation normals, 1971–2000.

Tables

  1. Stationary sources and estimated annual mercury emissions to the atmosphere in Indiana in 2001.
  2. Characteristics of monitoring stations for mercury in precipitation in Indiana.
  3. Weekly samples at four monitoring stations for mercury in precipitation in Indiana, January 2001–December 2003.
  4. Total mercury concentrations in weekly samples at four monitoring stations for mercury in precipitation in Indiana,
    January 2001–December 2003.
  5. Total mercury deposition in weekly samples at four monitoring stations for mercury in precipitation in Indiana,
    January 2001–December 2003.
  6. Methylmercury concentrations and methylmercury deposition in weekly samples at four monitoring stations in Indiana,
    January 2001–December 2003.
  7. Normalized total mercury deposition and volume-weighted total mercury concentration at four monitoring stations for
    mercury in precipitation in Indiana, January 2001–December 2003.
  8. Median total mercury and methylmercury deposition and concentrations, in weekly samples grouped by season, at four
    monitoring stations for mercury in precipitation in Indiana, January 2001–December 2003.
  9. Weekly samples with episodes of high mercury deposition at four monitoring stations for mercury in precipitation in Indiana,
    January 2001–December 2003.
  10. Precipitation normals, 1971–2000, and annual precipitation at four monitoring stations for mercury in precipitation in
     Indiana, January 2001–December 2003.

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Suggested Citation:


Risch, Martin R., 2007, Mercury in Precipitation in Indiana, January 2001–December 2003: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2007–5063, 76 p.




For more information about USGS activities in Indiana, visit the USGS Indiana Water Science Center home page.




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Persistent URL: http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/sir20075063
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Last modified: Wednesday, July 11, 2007, 12:30 PM
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