Wednesday, November 7, 2007 - 2:15 PM

Effects of Iron/Manganese Oxides on Stability of Mercury Sulfide in U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Site.

Fengxiang Han, Yi Su, Jian Chen, Safwan Shiyab, David Monts, and Charles Waggoner. Mississippi State University, ICET, Mississippi State Univ., 205 Research Blvd, Starkville, MS 39759

Historically as part of its national security mission, the U.S. Department of Energy's Y-12 National Security Facility in Oak Ridge, TN, USA acquired a significant fraction of the world's supply of elemental mercury. During the 1950's and 1960's, a large amount of elemental mercury escaped confinement and is still present in the buildings and grounds of the Y-12 Facility and in the Y-12 Watershed. Because of the adverse effects of elemental mercury and mercury compounds upon human health, the Oak Ridge Site is engaged in an on-going effort to monitor and remediate the area. The main thrust of the Oak Ridge mercury remediation effort is currently scheduled for implementation in FY09. In order to more cost effectively implement those extensive remediation efforts, it is necessary now to obtain an improved understanding of the role that mercury and mercury compounds play in the Oak Ridge ecosystem.

Most recently, concentrations of both total mercury and methylmercury in fish and water of lower East Fork Poplar Creek (LEFPC) of Oak Ridge increased although the majority of mercury in the site is mercury sulfide. This drives the US DOE and the Oak Ridge Site to study the long-term bioavailability of mercury and speciation at the site. The stability and bioavailability of mercury sulfide as affected by various biogeochemical conditions –presence of iron and manganese oxides have been studied. We examined the possible mechanisms and pathways of iron and manganese oxides in triggering the most recent increase of mercury solubility, bioavailability and mobility in Oak Ridge site. The kinetics of these processes will be discussed.