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Mercury in the Environment: What Do You Monitor & Where Do You Do It?

David Schmeltz and Tim Sharac

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Atmospheric Programs, Clean Air Markets Division, Washington , DC

EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation is developing capacity to assess the effectiveness of air regulations designed to control mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. EPA is collaborating with the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) to establish an Atmospheric Mercury Initiative. The initiative seeks to measure event-based mercury wet deposition, air concentrations of mercury in its gaseous and particulate forms, and meteorological and land-cover variables needed for estimating dry deposition fluxes. The initiative proposes a national network of monitoring stations with a broad range of classifications, including: rural, suburban, and urban; near-source/high-emission; sensitive ecosystem; and regionally representative. Stations would follow standard operational procedures, based on methods developed from USEPA and other research efforts. Data would be quality-assured and accessible online from the NADP Web page. A significant part of this effort entails coordinating with many partners who monitor, assess, and report on different aspects of the mercury cycle – from sources to fish to people – over time and space. The purpose of this poster is to encourage scientists collecting mercury data to share information about their work by identifying on the map what they are collecting and the places they are doing it. Mercury monitoring metadata collected through this effort will be compiled into a database and used to forge partnerships with the mercury scientific community. Through this effort, we will be able to explore the extent of existing mercury monitoring capabilities, gaps in coverage, and raise awareness of the need for future integrated long-term monitoring programs.

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