Civil and environmental engineering seminar with Charles Driscoll
Friday, March 23, 2 p.m.,369 Link Hall
Year-One Review of a Nitrate Addition Pilot Project: A Novel Program for the Control of Methylmercury in Onondaga Lake, NY
Methylmercury (MeHg) strongly bioaccumulates in aquatic food webs, resulting in exposure to humans and wildlife. MeHg is produced under anaerobic conditions, largely by sulfate-reducing bacteria. Nitrate (NO3-) addition has recently been proposed as a novel approach to control MeHg accumulation in lakes. The supporting science will be reviewed and the design, execution, and performance of a whole-lake
nitrate addition pilot project will be described. Year-one of a three-year pilot program was conducted in Onondaga Lake during 2011.
Liquid calcium nitrate solution was applied to the hypolimnion from a movable barge approximately 3 times per week during the late June to early October to limit release of MeHg from the pelagic sediments to the water column. The program design included characteristics of the calcium nitrate solution, configuration of the deployment platform, and rates and frequencies, locations and depths selected for nitrate addition. An intensive water quality monitoring program was used to guide the nitrate addition schedule and track the lake response. Hypolimnetic concentrations of NO3- and MeHg are evaluated in the context of historical values as critical metrics of performance.
Charles T. Driscoll is a University Professor at Syracuse University and a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). He received his B.S. from the University of Maine and M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell. His research addresses the effects of disturbance on forest, aquatic and coastal ecosystems, including air pollution (acid rain, mercury), land-use change, climate change and elevated inputs of nutrients and trace metals. Professor Driscoll has served on many local, national
and international committees, including current participation on the National Research Council Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology and the Everglades Restoration Committee, and the National Science Foundation advisory committee for Critical Zone Observatories.
Contact Person: Heather Kirkpatrick
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering