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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

Toxics Program Remediation Activities

Nickel Cycling in the South San Francisco Bay

  • Feasibility Studies
  • Site Characterization
Location San Francisco Bay, CA
Technology Load Allocations
  • Copper
  • Nickel

USGS scientists conducted field and laboratory studies that provided the first direct measurements of the mass of dissolved nickel moving out of bottom sediment and into the water column at three sites in the southern component of the San Francisco Bay (South Bay), California (Scientists call the movement of dissolved contaminants, which can be either into or out of bottom sediments, the benthic flux). Dissolved nickel and predominant ligands (represented by dissolved organic carbon, and sulfides) were the solutes of primary interest, although a variety of ancillary measurements were also performed to provide a framework for interpretation. The study showed that the amount of dissolved nickel from bottom sediments is comparable to the amount of dissolved nickel in streams and rivers that flow into the Bay. These results add to a growing body of knowledge that strongly suggests a need to consider the role of contaminant transport across the sediment-water interface (the benthic flux) when establishing future management strategies for the watershed. This is particularly important for the establishment of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) of contaminants into the South Bay.

More Information
Contact James Kuwabara, USGS, National Research Program, Menlo Park, CA,
Topping, B.R., Kuwabara, J.S., Parchaso, F., Hager, S.W., Arnsberg, A.J., and Murphy, F., 2001,
Benthic flux of dissolved nickel into the water column of South San Francisco Bay: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-89, 50 p.

Other Studies Using the Same Methods to Determine the Benthic Flux of Metals

San Francisco Bay Information

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