Investigation of local mercury deposition from a coal-fired power plant using mercury isotopes.


Coal combustion accounts for approximately two-thirds of global anthropogenic mercury (Hg) emissions. Enhanced deposition of Hg can occur close to coal-fired utility boilers (CFUBs), but it is difficult to link specific point sources with local deposition. Measurement of Hg stable isotope ratios in precipitation holds promise as a tool to assist in the identification of local Hg deposition related to anthropogenic emissions. We collected daily event precipitation samples in close proximity to a large CFUB in Crystal River, Florida. Precipitation samples collected in Crystal River were isotopically distinct and displayed large negative δ(202)Hg values (mean = -2.56‰, 1 SD = 1.10‰, n = 28). In contrast, precipitation samples collected at other sites in FL that were not greatly impacted by local coal combustion were characterized by δ(202)Hg values close to 0‰ (mean = 0.07‰, 1 SD = 0.17‰, n = 13). These results indicate that, depending on factors such as powdered coal isotopic composition and efficiency of Hg removal from flue gas, Hg deposited near CFUBs can be isotopically distinct. As this tool is further refined through future studies, Hg stable isotopes may eventually be used to quantify local deposition of Hg emitted by large CFUBs.

DOI: 10.1021/es202793c

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@article{Sherman2012InvestigationOL, title={Investigation of local mercury deposition from a coal-fired power plant using mercury isotopes.}, author={Laura S. Sherman and Joel D Blum and Gerald J. Keeler and Jason D Demers and Joseph Timothy Dvonch}, journal={Environmental science & technology}, year={2012}, volume={46 1}, pages={382-90} }