Mercury in the river Nura and its floodplain, central Kazakhstan I: river sediments and water


Heaven, S., Ilyushchenko, M.A., Tanton, T. W., Ullrich, S. M. and Yanin, E.P. (2000) Mercury in the river Nura and its floodplain, central Kazakhstan I: river sediments and water. Science of the Total Environment, 260, (1-3), 35-44. (doi:10.1016/S0048-9697(00)00540-4).

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Description/Abstract

The River Nura in Central Kazakhstan has been heavily polluted by mercury originating from an acetaldehyde plant. Mercury in the riverbed is mainly associated with power station fly ash, forming a new type of technogenic deposit. A systematic survey of the bed was carried out to establish the location, extent and nature of the contaminated sediments, and to evaluate the potential for sediment transport. The bed sediments were found to contain very high concentrations of mercury, particularly in the first 15 km downstream of the source of the pollution. Average total mercury concentrations in this section of the river are typically between 150 and 240 mg/kg, falling rapidly with increasing distance downstream. The estimated total volume of silts in the riverbed between Temirtau, the origin of the pollution, and Intumak Reservoir, located 75 km downstream, has been calculated as 463 500 m(3), containing an estimated 9.4 tonnes mercury. Forty-six percent of the total volume of contaminated silts containing almost 95% of the mercury are located in the upper 25 km of the river, however. The data clearly support the hypothesis that large quantities of polluted sediment are not transported long distances downstream but are removed from the aquatic environment in times of flood and deposited on the low-lying lands adjacent: to the river. This process, however, does not stop mercury moving further downstream in the water column. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0048-9697 (print)
1879-1026 (electronic)
Related URLs:
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Civil Engineering and the Environment
ePrint ID: 74706
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2010
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:53
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/74706

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