Laboratory study of calcium based sorbents impacts on mercury bioavailability in contaminated sediments
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Mercury -contaminated sediments often act as a sink of mercury and produce methyl-mercury, an acute neurotoxin which readily bio accumulates, due to the presence of bacterial communities hosted by the sediment. One common remediation approach to manage methyl-mercury is to amend the sediment by capping or directly mixing with a sorbent. This thesis aims to assess the capabilities of some calcium-based sorbent to act in that capacity. Laboratory experiments were implemented to simulate mercury fate and behavior in geochemical conditions that capping would likely create. Well-mixed slurries showed that gypsum materials were disparate and their behavior was similar from sand to organocaly. Mercury sorption capacities of these gypsums were poor with a sorption coefficient approximately equal to 300 L/kg. Reduction of methylmercury was minimal and even increased in two of the three materials. Therefore, the three gypsums, which tend to be more cohesive when wetted, doesn’t constitute a viable material for sediment capping.