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Abstract Title: Transport of Mercury in a Regulated High-sediment River and Its Input to Marginal Seas
Presenter Name: Chenghao Yu
Company/Institution: Zhejiang University of Technology
Session: Mercury in Freshwater Ecosystems
Co-Authors: Chenghao Yu

Abstract Information :

Seafood is a major source of Hg exposure for humans, and rivers are an important source of Hg for adjacent seas. The Yellow River is an extremely high-sediment river that is heavily influenced by anthropogenic water facilities, especially sediment regulations, which might result in significant intra- and inter- year flux variations on pollutants. Overestimations of Hg flux were found in previous studies on high-sediment rivers, and a comprehensive study of Hg transport along such a river has not yet been attempted. In this study, we quantified the fates of Hg and methylmercury (MeHg) in the Yellow River and its main branches, as well as the impacts of anthropogenic activities, including deposition of contaminants in the reservoirs, diversion in the downstream, and sediment regulation, by sampling in 2017 and 2018,and comparing the two typical years with and without sediment regulation. The total Hg (THg) and MeHg concentrations in the Yellow River and its tributaries were high, and extremely high MeHg/THg ratios were found in the three sampled reservoirs. The river discharges substantial amounts of THg and MeHg into the Bohai Sea, and particulate Hg in the humid period accounts for a large proportion. A significant increase in Hg flux into the ocean was found in 2018 compared with that in 2017, which was primarily attributed to the altered hydrology caused by sediment regulation. Substantial amounts of Hg were impounded in the reservoirs, and only a small fraction was discharged downstream of the reservoir in the non-regulation years. Moreover, Hg fluxes to the coastal ocean were impacted by downstream water diversion in non-regulation years, whereas the contributions of diversions in regulation years were small. In conclusion, models showed that in recent 15 years, sediment regulation can enhance the Hg burden and risk to coastal ecosystem of Bohai Sea.

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