Evaluating the transport of Hg(II) in the presence of natural organic matter through a diffusive gradient in a thin-film passive sampler

Garret D. Bland, Balaji Rao, Danny Reible

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The effects of a model natural organic matter (NOM) on the transport of Hg(II) into diffusive gradient in thin-film devices (DGTs) was evaluated in order to better understand their ability to measure colloidal Hg species in porewater. The presence of NOM significantly reduced the diffusivity of the Hg(II) species and the reduction was dependent upon NOM to Hg(II) ratio. This relationship was modeled by determining the Hg(II) partition coefficients (Kd) of size fractionated NOM obtained by ultrafiltration and estimating the Hg diffusivity through the DGT for the different NOM size fractions across a range of Hg-NOM ratios. The estimated diffusivities were consistent with experimental observations of uptake into the DGT. Overall, this study indicated that Hg(II) associated with NOM passes into a DGT, however the transport is slowed in accordance with the diffusivity of the NOM to which the Hg(II) is associated. Thus, the Hg—NOM association and complex diffusivities need to be considered when relating DGT uptake to Hg porewater concentration. The results also suggest that Hg(II) associated with colloidal or larger particles of negligible diffusivity are unlikely to contribute significantly to DGT measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number141217
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume749
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 20 2020

Keywords

  • DGT
  • Hg NOM complexes
  • Hg diffusivity
  • Hg to NOM ratio
  • Size fractionation

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