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  Proceedings and Summary Report, Workshop on Assessing and Managing Mercury From Historic and Current Mining Activities (254 pp, 3.28 MB) (EPA/625/R-04/102) August 2003

Mercury deposits in mines have posed a significant hazard to residents and wildlife where drainage from these deposits enters the environment through streams and rivers. For this reason, the extent of mercury contamination in the United States is of significant environmental concern.

EPA is investigating the many different sources of mercury contamination. As a result, many EPA program offices have made commitments to enhance government, industry, and public awareness of potential hazards associated with the persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) effects of mercury in the environment. In fact, mercury is one of many PBT chemicals that continue to be an environmental concern because generated hazardous waste or incidental release to the environment continues long after their intended use.

EPA’s intent is to reduce the generation of PBTs, including mercury, in hazardous waste by 50 percent by the year 2005 through various pollution prevention and state-of-the-science disposal practices.

The primary objectives of this workshop were to:

  • Identify state-of-the-science practices and techniques for reducing the use and release of mercury at its source, while understanding mercury fate and transport mechanisms and assessing mercury's impacts on human health and the ecology
  • Determine the role the Office of Research and Development can play in the research activities required to fulfill the goal of the Mercury Research Strategy, which guides mercury research

Presentations during the plenary session, technical sessions, and panel discussions addressed identifying and characterizing sources, mercury speciation and mobility, watershed impairment, watershed management tools and priorities, air emissions and impacts, and remediating and treating contaminated sites and materials. Presenters were from EPA, the Department of Energy, state agencies, industry, academia, technology development, consulting firms, and international organizations.

This report contains a summary of the material presented during the workshop, including technical session abstracts and summaries of the plenary session and the panel discussion. The final agenda and list of attendees are presented in Appendices A and B.


Douglas Grosse

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