Laboratory optimization and field demonstration of diffusive gradients in thin films for in-situ mercury measurements of river sediments
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Diffusive gradients in thin film (DGT) technique is applied to determine pore water mercury concentrations in river sediments. DGT devices have been a useful indicator of dissolved metals in aqueous systems, although it is not as well developed for measuring mercury. DGT devices were evaluated for three different ion exchange resins for adsorption of mercury. After a series of laboratory experiments, 3-Mercaptopropyl Functionalized Silica Gel (3M) was chosen as an effective resin layer. Laboratory experiments showed that the resin strongly associated with dissolved Hg²⁺. DGT probes were tested with sediments from the South River (Virginia, USA) in the laboratory and the time dependent deployment verified an uptake of mercury to the probes and established an effective diffusion coefficient for site specific utilization. Multiple piston and sediment probes were deployed in the South River in-situ to determine overlying water Hg concentrations and sediment pore water Hg concentration profiles. The DGT devices were successful in measuring Hg concentrations in-situ.