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Analysis of Mercury Wet-Deposition Data Collected with a Newly Designed Sampler, Boston, Massachusetts Metropolitan Area, 2002-04

By Ann Chalmers, Mark A. Nilles, David P. Krabbenhoft, and Eric Prestbo

U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005-1368

Available online only

The latest revision of the report is available in PDF format (1,676 KB) 


Atmospheric mercury wet-deposition rates were determined by the use of a newly designed wet-deposition sampler at four sites around the Boston, Mass. metropolitan area. The new sampler design was evaluated to determine reliability and capture efficiency. Capture efficiency was lowest during cold and (or) windy winter storms when accumulated ice and (or) snow either overflowed or blew out of the funnel. High capture efficiency (median values of 0.95 and 1.01) occurred with the top-loading type of N-Con sampler, likely reflecting the enhanced collection efficiency of the optical infrared precipitation sensor during light precipitation, and the improved temperature distribution in the top-loading model. Wet-deposition samples collected from January 2002 to August 2004 were analyzed for total mercury (HgT), and a subset of samples from September 2003 to August 2004 were analyzed for methyl mercury (MeHg). MeHg concentrations at all four sites were below the detection level of 0.04 nanograms per liter (ng/L). Precipitation-weighted HgT concentrations during the study were 7.81 to 8.31 ng/L at the more urban sites, and 6.87 ng/L at the regional-reference site. Annual HgT deposition was 8.11 to 9.98 micrograms per square meter per year (g/m2/yr) at urban sites, and 6.56 g/m2/yr at the regional-reference site. Precipitation-weighted HgT concentrations were 2 times higher in the summer than the winter, and the HgT deposition rate was 3 times higher in the spring and (or) summer than in the winter in the Boston metropolitan area.

Table of Contents




Study Design

Sampling Methods

Analytical Methods

Quality Assurance

Mercury in Wet-Deposition


References Cited

Appendix 1. Mercury wet-deposition data from Laconia, N.H.

Appendix 2. Mercury wet-deposition data from Beverly Airport, Beverly, Mass.

Appendix 3. Mercury wet-deposition data from Manchester, N.H.

Appendix 4. Mercury wet-deposition data from Blue Hill, Milton, Mass.

Appendix 5. Sample collection protocol for the N-Con mercury sampler

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For more information concerning the research in this report, contact:

Brian Mrazik, Director
New Hampshire-Vermont Water Science Center
361 Commerce Way
Pembroke, NH 03275

Web site:

Phone: (603) 226-7807




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