Effect of infiltrating solutions on the desorption of mercury from aquifer sediments

C. L. MacLeod, M. P. Borcsik, Peter R. Jaffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Mercury mobilization off of aquifer sediments by acid rain, road salt runoff and fertilizer solutions is investigated using column and batch equilibria experiments. Sediments from the Kirkwood Cohansey aquifer System, New Jersey are used to determine the mobilization potential of mercury due to changing infiltration water chemistry. In a series of batch equilibria and column experiments mercury contaminated sediments were treated with a dilute nitric acid solutions, 20-20-20 fertilizer, super phosphate fertilizer and dilute sodium chloride solutions. Mercury mobilization is enhanced by solutions containing sodium chloride and 20-20-20 fertilizer. These solutions can remove up to 90% of the mercury sorbed to the sediments. Mercury mobilization by phosphate fertilizer and acid rain proceeds at a slower rate and only 30% of the mercury is removed. It was found that irrigation of the sediments following treatment with 20-20-20 fertilizer or sodium chloride increased mercury mobilization associated with the destabilization of iron and aluminum oxides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-475
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Technology (United Kingdom)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal


  • Fertilizers
  • Ground water
  • Mercury
  • Road salt


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