Detection and Site Characterization
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The purpose of this section is to identify analytical and sampling methods commonly used for detecting, measuring, and/or monitoring mercury that are available on line. The intent is not to provide an exhaustive list of analytical methods, but to identify well-established, standard methods, particularly those used for environmental samples and approved by EPA.
Check the National Environmental Methods Index (NEMI) to locate EPA methods not included on this page.
Jump to a SubsectionLaboratory Analysis | Site Characterization | Workplace Sampling | Literature References
Analytical Methods Utilized by the United States Geological Survey for the Analysis of Coal and Coal Combustion By-Products
J.H. Bullock, Jr., J.D. Cathcart, and W.J. Betterton.
U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-389, 16 pp., 2002.
Determination of Mercury in Aqueous and Geologic Materials by Continuous Flow/Cold Vapor/Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry (CVAFS)
Philip L. Hageman.
U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods 5-D2, 13 pp, 2007
Determination of Methyl Mercury by Aqueous Phase Ethylation, Followed by Gas Chromatographic Separation with Cold Vapor Atomic Fluorescence Detection
John F. De Wild, Mark L. Olson, and Shane D. Olund.
U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-445, 19 pp., 2002.
Contact: John F. DeWild, email@example.com
Development of Analytical Methods for the Quantification of the Chemical Forms of Mercury and Other Target Pollutants in Coal-Fired Boiler Flue Gas
Terence J. McManus.
U.S. DOE. NTIS: DE00778029,78 pp., 1999.
EPA Office of Water Test Methods
EPA Method 1669: Sampling Ambient Water for Trace Metals at EPA Water Quality Criteria Levels
EPA 821-R-96-008, 39 pp., 1996.
Method 245.7: Mercury in Water by Cold Vapor Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry
EPA-821-R-05-001, 33 pp, 2005
Method 1631, Revision E: Mercury in Water by Oxidation, Purge and Trap, and Cold Vapor Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry
EPA 821-R-02-019, 46 pp., 2002.
Guidance for Implementation and Use of EPA Method 1631 for the Determination of Low-Level Mercury (40 CFR part 136)
EPA 821-R-01-023, 48 pp., 2001.
Speciation of Mercury in Soils by Sequential Extraction
E.L. Miller, David E. Dobb, and E.M. Heithmar.
U.S. EPA, National Exposure Research Laboratory.
The toxicity and environmental mobility of different inorganic mercury compounds is closely related to their relative solubilities in aqueous media, so a sequential extraction procedure utilizing increasingly powerful aqueous solvents should permit the separation of mixtures of mercury compounds into operationally defined classes with different potentials for human and ecological exposure. The results of such a speciation should permit a more accurate assessment of the mercury hazard associated with a particular site than is currently provided by determination of total mercury.
Test Methods for Evaluating Solid Wastes: Physical/Chemical Methods, 3rd Edition Main Page
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, SW-846.
Method 3200, Mercury Species Fractionation and Quantification by Microwave Assisted Extraction, Selective Solvent Extraction and/or Solid Phase Extraction
Method 7470A, Mercury in Liquid Waste (Manual Cold-Vapor Technique)
Method 7471B, Mercury in Solid or Semisolid Waste (Manual Cold-Vapor Technique)
Method 7472, Mercury in Aqueous Samples and Extracts by Anodic Stripping Voltammetry (ASV)
Characterization and Eh/pH-Based Leaching Tests of Mercury-Containing Mining Wastes from the Sulfur Bank Mercury Mine, Lake County, California
U.S. EPA, Office of Research and Development. EPA 600-R-02-032, 22 pp., 2001.
Contact: Paul Randall, firstname.lastname@example.org
Profiles of waste ore over a range of different pH and oxidation-reduction (Eh) conditions were taken to provide information for the development of treatment alternatives for waste material at the mine site.
Characterization of Mercury Contamination at the East Fork Popular Creek Site, Oak Ridge, Tennessee: A Case Study
C.L. Gerlach, et al.
EPA 600-R-95-110, 1995.
Contact: Edward Heithmar, email@example.com
Comparison of Sampling Methods to Determine Total and Speciated Mercury in Flue Gas
U.S. DOE, National Energy Technology Laboratory.
CRADA 00-F038 Final Report, 60 pp., 2001.
Environmental Forensics: Contaminant-Specific Guide
Robert D. Morrison and Brian Murphy.
Elsevier Academic Press, Boston. ISBN: 0125077513, 576 pp, 2006
Environmental forensics is the application of scientific techniques for the purpose of identifying the source and age of a contaminant. This book discusses the following contaminants and contaminant groups: mercury, asbestos, lead, chromium, methane, radioactive compounds, pesticides, perchlorate, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, chlorinated solvents, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, crude oil, gasoline, microbes, and compounds found in sewage.
Field Analysis of Mercury in Water, Sediment and Soil Using Static Headspace Analysis
A.A. Kriger and R.R. Turner.
U.S. DOE, NTIS: DE96009631. 10 pp., 1994.
Field Demonstration and Validation of a New Device for Measuring Water and Solute Fluxes, NASA LC-34 Site
Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), 172 pp, 2006
ESTCP passive flux meter (PFM) demonstration and validation projects include MTBE flux measurement at Port Hueneme, perchlorate flux at the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Indianhead, and TCE flux at NASA Launch Complex 34 at Cape Canaveral.
Mass Flux Toolkit to Evaluate Groundwater Impacts, Attenuation, and Remediation Alternatives
Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), 2006
To help site managers and site consultants estimate mass flux and understand the uncertainty in those estimates, ESTCP has funded the development of a computerized Mass Flux Toolkit, free software that gives site personnel the capability to compare different mass flux approaches, calculate mass flux from transect data, and apply mass flux to manage ground-water plumes. The toolkit spreadsheet and associated documentation are available on the ESTCP contractor's website in a zipped file.
Techniques for the Collection and Species-Specific Analysis of Low Levels of Mercury in
Water, Sediment, and Biota
Mark L. Olson and John F. DeWild.
U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 99-4018b, 8 pp., 1999.
Contact: Mark L. Olson, firstname.lastname@example.org; John F. DeWild, email@example.com
Measurement of Low-Level Mercury in Groundwater to Assess Movement to Surface Waters
Michigan DEQ, 3 pp., 2001.
Mercury Geochemistry in a Wetland and Its Implications for In-Situ Remediation
D.I. Kaplan, S. Knox, J. Myers.
Contact: D.I. Kaplan, Westinghouse Savannah River Company, Aiken, SC.
Evaluation of a Solid Sorbent Passive Dosimeter for Collecting Mercury Vapor
Backup Report No. ID-140, 1989.
Mercury Vapor in Workplace Atmospheres
OSHA, ID-140, 1991.
Particulate Mercury in Workplace Atmospheres
OSHA, ID-145, 1987.
Through the Measurement and Monitoring Technologies for the 21st Century initiative, EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) will identify and deploy promising measurement and monitoring technologies in response to waste management and site cleanup program needs by matching existing and emerging technologies with OSWER program and client needs.
Methods for Sampling/Analysis of Mercury in Water and Solids
U.S. EPA, Office of Research and Development.
Mining Waste Scientist to Scientist Meeting, June 14-15, 2000, Las Vegas, Nevada.
A bibliography with abstracts was provided to conference attendees as a handout to support the discussion of mining waste research needs with regard to mercury sampling and analysis.