Influences on Mercury Bioaccumulation Factors for the Savannah River

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Mercury TMDLs (Total Maximum Daily Loads) are a regulatory instrument designed to reduce the amount of mercury entering a water body and ultimately to control the bioaccumulation of mercury in fish. TMDLs are based on a BAF (bioaccumulation factor), which is the ratio of methyl mercury in fish to dissolved methyl mercury in water. Analysis of fish tissue and aqueous methyl mercury samples collected at a number of locations and over several seasons in a 118 km reach of the Savannah River demonstrated that species specific BAFs varied by factors of three to eight. Factors contributing to BAF variability were ... continued below

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Paller, M.H. May 6, 2003.

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Mercury TMDLs (Total Maximum Daily Loads) are a regulatory instrument designed to reduce the amount of mercury entering a water body and ultimately to control the bioaccumulation of mercury in fish. TMDLs are based on a BAF (bioaccumulation factor), which is the ratio of methyl mercury in fish to dissolved methyl mercury in water. Analysis of fish tissue and aqueous methyl mercury samples collected at a number of locations and over several seasons in a 118 km reach of the Savannah River demonstrated that species specific BAFs varied by factors of three to eight. Factors contributing to BAF variability were location, habitat and season related differences in fish muscle tissue mercury levels and seasonal differences in dissolved methyl mercury levels. Overall (all locations, habitats, and seasons) average BAFs were 3.7 x 106 for largemouth bass, 1.4 x 106 for sunfishes, and 2.5 x 106 for white catfish. Inaccurate and imprecise BAFs can result in unnecessary economic impact or insufficient protection of human health. Determination of representative and precise BAFs for mercury in fish from large rivers necessitates collecting large and approximately equal numbers of fish and aqueous methyl mercury samples over a seasonal cycle from the entire area and all habitats to be represented by the TMDL.

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  • Journal Name: Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

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  • Report No.: WSRC-MS-2002-01015
  • Grant Number: AC09-96SR18500
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 810861
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc734540

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  • May 6, 2003

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  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • May 5, 2016, 2:04 p.m.

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Paller, M.H. Influences on Mercury Bioaccumulation Factors for the Savannah River, article, May 6, 2003; South Carolina. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc734540/: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.