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Mercury species and other selected constituent concentrations in water, sediment, and biota of Sinclair Inlet, Kitsap County, Washington, 2007-10

February 22, 2012

This report presents data collected for two U.S. Geological Survey field sampling projects related to mercury (Hg) in Sinclair Inlet: (1) the Watersheds Sources Project that evaluated the sources of mercury to Sinclair Inlet during December 2007 to March 2010, and (2) the Methylation and Bioaccumulation Project, a comprehensive examination of mercury biogeochemistry in sediment, water, and zooplankton during August 2008–February 2010.

For the Watershed Sources project, nonpoint and point sources of mercury to Sinclair Inlet from the Bremerton naval complex (BNC) were evaluated by using filtered total mercury and particulate total mercury measured in water samples collected from 11 wells, 2 dry dock sump discharges, and a steam plant's effluent at the BNC. Methylmercury sources to the inlet were examined by determining filtered methylmercury concentrations in water samples collected from five wells, two dry dock sump discharges, a steam plant's effluent, five intertidal piezometers, and three stormwater drains on the BNC, as well as in samples from five creeks, two wastewater treatment facilities, and three stormwater drains in the Sinclair Inlet watershed outside of the BNC. An improved understanding of tidally modulated mercury migration to Sinclair Inlet from the BNC was gained through three intensive nearshore (tidal) sampling events of mercury species in groundwater and a nearby stormwater drain.

The Methylation and Bioaccumulation Project included a comprehensive field study of mercury biogeochemistry in marine sediment, water, and zooplankton in Sinclair Inlet. Mercury, iron, and sulfur species in sediment porewater from six sites within and three sites outside of Sinclair Inlet were measured to provide insight into the processes that produce methylmercury in the sediments. Total mercury, methylmercury, dissolved organic carbon, and redox-sensitive species were measured in porewaters in the top 2 centimeters of sediment, and these data were paired with sedimentary flux measurements from core incubation experiments to connect sedimentary processes to the water column. A broad-scale study of mercury methylation potential and mercury species at 20-plus stations in Sinclair Inlet was conducted in February 2009 and 2010, June 2009, and August 2009. Sedimentary flux measurements and analysis of mercury and biogeochemicals in sediment porewater and bottom water were made at six of the broad-scale stations. Bioaccumulation processes in the water column in the context of the sedimentary flux of methylmercury were examined using monthly survey data collected between August 2008 and August 2009. The survey data included concentrations of methylmercury and isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen in bulk zooplankton measured at four stations in Sinclair Inlet in the context of the population of bulk zooplankton ascertained by taxonomical identification. The analysis of filtered total mercury, total particulate mercury, filtered methylmercury, particulate methylmercury, chlorophyll a, isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in suspended matter, and other biogeochemical data will facilitate the examination of the biogeochemistry of mercury in Sinclair Inlet.

Publication Year 2012
Title Mercury species and other selected constituent concentrations in water, sediment, and biota of Sinclair Inlet, Kitsap County, Washington, 2007-10
DOI 10.3133/ds658
Authors R.L. Huffman, R. J. Wagner, J. Toft, J. Cordell, J.F. DeWild, R.S. Dinicola, G. R. Aiken, D. P. Krabbenhoft, M. Marvin-DiPasquale, A.R. Stewart, P.W. Moran, A.J. Paulson
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Data Series
Series Number 658
Index ID ds658
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Washington Water Science Center