New Research Shows Elevated Mercury from in-Ground Wastewater Disposal

431 Views

As towns across Cape Cod struggle with problems stemming from septic systems, a recent study by a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientist focuses on one specific toxic by-product: mercury. In a study of local groundwater, biogeochemist Carl Lamborg found microbial action on wastewater transforms it into more mobile, more toxic forms of the element.

His findings were published in Environmental Science and Technology in November 2013.

Mercury (Hg) is a toxic trace metal. Wastewater contains small amounts of it, but Lamborg found the chemical processes that break down waste increase mercury levels in the ground and water.

Between 2010 and 2012 Lamborg measured the concentrations and various forms of mercury at sampling wells installed by U.S. Geological Survey surrounding a wastewater treatment site operated by the Massachusetts Military Reservation in western Cape Cod. Wastewater was disposed into the ground at this site from 1936 to 1995, creating a 3-kilometer-long plume of contaminants spreading downstream from this site. The plume travels about 200 meters per year through the aquifer and ends in a coastal saltwater pond.

Read more 

Support
Please feel free to submit your feedback below
Feedback

CAPTCHA
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.