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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances


U.S. Geological Survey Toxic Substances Hydrology Program--Proceedings of the Technical Meeting Charleston South Carolina March 8-12,1999--Volume 2 of 3--Contamination of Hydrologic Systems and Related Ecosystems, Water-Resources Investigation Report 99-4018B

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Techniques for the Collection and Species-Specific Analysis of Low Levels of Mercury in Water, Sediment, and Biota

By Mark L. Olson and John F. DeWild

The paper is available online in pdf format: pdf 2305_Olson.pdf


The U.S. Geological Survey has established a laboratory to develop and implement methods for the analysis of low levels of specific species of mercury. This paper outlines sample collection and analysis techniques used to determine species specific mercury concentrations in environmental samples. The laboratory has the capability of determining the concentration of total, methyl, reactive, and dissolved gaseous mercury in surface water, and total and methylmercury in ground water, porewater, sediment, and biota. Until the analytical methods used by the Wisconsin District Mercury Laboratory are approved by the U.S. Geological Survey's Office of Water Quality, the data produced are classified as provisional. The analytical method for total mercury is scheduled for approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the spring of 1999. The Wisconsin District Mercury Laboratory will seek approval of the analytical method for methylmercury through the U.S. Geological Survey Office of Water Quality. Currently, results are validated using matrix spikes, blanks, laboratory duplicates, quality-control check samples, and certified reference materials.

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