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Mercury Accumulation in Sediments of the Ala Wai Canal and in Soils and Stream Sediments of the Central Honolulu Watershed

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Title:Mercury Accumulation in Sediments of the Ala Wai Canal and in Soils and Stream Sediments of the Central Honolulu Watershed
Authors:Raine, Laurence M.
Siegel, Barbara Z.
McMurtry, Gary M.
Date Issued:Oct 1995
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Raine LM, Siegel BZ, McMurtry GM. 1995. Mercury accumulation in sediments of the Ala Wai Canal and in soils and stream sediments of the central Honolulu watershed. Pac Sci 49(4): 511-525.
Abstract:In this study we determined the historical trend of both natural
and anthropogenic sources of mercury deposition as preserved in anoxic
estuarine sediments of the Ala Wai Canal, an estuary situated within a heavily
urbanized area of Honolulu. Analysis of sediments from the Ala Wai Canal
revealed that the total mercury content is highest at the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor
(0.054-2.810 ug/g) and decreases exponentially toward the most distal portion
of the canal (0.009-0.237 ug/g). In contrast, the mercury content of soil and
stream samples taken from the central Honolulu watershed ranges from only
0.001 to 0.058 ug/g. This pattern suggests tidal transport of mercury into
the canal from the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor. A chronological analysis of core
samples shows a peak in mercury concentrations in the late 1950s, which corresponds
to the use of antifouling paints on boats in the harbor and is the
probable source of the majority of the mercury found in the Ala Wai Canal.
High mercury accumulation ends in the early 1970s in two of the cores investigated,
suggesting that antifouling paint-based accumulation ceased rapidly
after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ban. An exception is
noted in a comparatively smaller peak coincident with 1986, the last year of a
3-yr intense fire-fountaining period of the ongoing Pu'u '0'o eruption of nearby
Kilauea Volcano.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 49, Number 4, 1995

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