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Article

The Legacy of the Idrija Mine Twenty-Five Years after Closing: Is Mercury in the Water Column of the Gulf of Trieste Still an Environmental Issue?

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Dipartimento di Matematica e Geoscienze, Università Degli Studi di Trieste, Via Weiss 2, 34128 Trieste, Italy
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Autorità di Sistema Portuale del Mare Adriatico Orientale-Porto di Trieste, Via Karl Ludwig Von Bruck 3, 34144 Trieste, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Stefania Venturi, Barbara Nisi, Alessandro Acquavita, Sergio Calabrese and Jacopo Cabassi
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10192; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910192
Received: 3 August 2021 / Revised: 16 September 2021 / Accepted: 23 September 2021 / Published: 28 September 2021
Mercury (Hg) contamination in the Gulf of Trieste (northern Adriatic Sea) due to mining activity in Idrija (Slovenia) still represents an issue of environmental concern. The Isonzo/Soča River’s freshwater inputs have been identified as the main source of Hg into the Gulf, especially following periods of medium-high discharge. This research aims to evaluate the occurrence and distribution of dissolved (DHg) and particulate (PHg) Hg along the water column in the northernmost sector of the Gulf, a shallow and sheltered embayment suitable for the accumulation of fine sediments. Sediment and water samples were collected under unperturbed and perturbed environmental conditions induced by natural and anthropogenic factors. Mercury in the sediments (0.77–6.39 µg g−1) and its relationship to grain size were found to be consistent with previous research focused on the entire Gulf, testifying to the common origin of the sediment. Results showed a notable variability of DHg (<LOD–149 ng L−1) and PHg (0.39–12.5 ng L−1) depending on the interaction between riverine and marine hydrological conditions. Mercury was found to be mainly partitioned in the suspended particles, especially following periods of high discharge, thus confirming the crucial role of the river inputs in regulating PHg distribution in the Gulf. View Full-Text
Keywords: mercury; sediments; water column; suspended particulate matter mercury; sediments; water column; suspended particulate matter
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pavoni, E.; Petranich, E.; Signore, S.; Fontolan, G.; Covelli, S. The Legacy of the Idrija Mine Twenty-Five Years after Closing: Is Mercury in the Water Column of the Gulf of Trieste Still an Environmental Issue? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 10192. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910192

AMA Style

Pavoni E, Petranich E, Signore S, Fontolan G, Covelli S. The Legacy of the Idrija Mine Twenty-Five Years after Closing: Is Mercury in the Water Column of the Gulf of Trieste Still an Environmental Issue? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(19):10192. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910192

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pavoni, Elena, Elisa Petranich, Sergio Signore, Giorgio Fontolan, and Stefano Covelli. 2021. "The Legacy of the Idrija Mine Twenty-Five Years after Closing: Is Mercury in the Water Column of the Gulf of Trieste Still an Environmental Issue?" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 19: 10192. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910192

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