Sediment and Mercury Fate and Path Modeling in Weeks Bay, Alabama

Author(s): Sloan-Ziegler, J.; Camacho-Rincon, R.; Martin, J.; McAnally, W.

Mercury, a naturally occurring element, is found in water, soil, and air and is released into the environment through natural sources and human activities. Mercury is subject to several physical and chemical processes in aquatic systems that impact its fate, transport, and toxicity to humans and aquatic life. Mercury bioaccumulates though the food chain and can eventually be ingested by humans though fish consumption. Mercury exposure can lead to negative effects such as risks to the nervous system, brain, lungs, heart, kidneys, and immune system.

Knowing the processes that can affect the fate and transport of mercury in waterbodies is fundamental for developing ecological restoration and prevention plans as well as for mitigating the potential threats to humans.

In this study, a mechanistic model based in the Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program (WASP) was implemented to support the analysis and understanding of the fate and transport of mercury in Weeks Bay, Alabama. Preliminary results indicate that the model is capable of representing the transport characteristics of the estuary and is, thus, potentially able to reproduce the long-term transport of mercury in the system. Current observed mercury data is limited; therefore, the current model can be used to aid in the formulation and development of future data collection programs focused on refining, calibrating, and validating the model.

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Technical Sessions

1 Best Management Practices #1
2 Delta Water Assessment
3 Flood Assessment & Mgmt.
4 Wetlands
5 Watershed Mgmt. #1
6 Non-Point Source Assessment
7 Modeling
8 Water Quality
9 Best Mgt. Practices #2
10 Delta Water Conservation
11 Sedimentation
12 Storm Water
13 Watershed Mgt. #2
14 Public Water Systems
15 Surface Water Assessment & Evaluation

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