Mass Balance Model of Mercury for the St. Lawrence River, Cornwall, Ontario

Mass Balance Model of Mercury for the St. Lawrence River, Cornwall, Ontario

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Title: Mass Balance Model of Mercury for the St. Lawrence River, Cornwall, Ontario
Author: Lessard, Charlotte
Abstract: We have developed a regional mass balance model for the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall, Ontario that describes the fate and transport of mercury in three forms, elemental mercury (Hg0), divalent mercury (Hg2+), and methyl mercury (MeHg), in a five compartment environment (air, water, sediments, periphyton, and benthos). Our first objective was to construct a steady-state mass balance model to determine the dominant sources and sinks of mercury in this environment. Our second objective was to construct a dynamic mass balance model to predict and hindcast mercury concentrations in this environment. We compiled mercury concentrations, fluxes, and transformation rates from previous studies completed in this section of the river to develop the model in STELLA®. The inflow of mercury was the major source to this system, accounting for 0.42 mol month-1, or 95.5% of all mercury inputs, whereas outflow was 0.28 mol month-1, or 63.6% of all losses, and sediment deposition was 0.12 mol month-1, or 27.3% of all losses. The dynamic mass balance model provides estimated results that are consistent with measured data and predicts historical local industrial emissions to be approximately 400 kg year-1. Uncertainty estimates were greatest for advective fluxes in surface water, porewater, periphyton, and benthic invertebrates. This model is useful for predicting and hindcasting mercury concentrations in other aquatic environments because it contains the three main environmental compartments, all forms of mercury, and compartments (e.g. periphyton) not included in previous mercury multi-media models.
Date: 2012
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/22862
Supervisor: Blais, Jules
Poulain, Alexandre
Faculty: Sciences / Science
Degree: MSc

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