How much mercury would it take to pollute a lake?

2

Answers


  1. 0 Votes

    Scientists believe that mercury levels are not dangerous until they reach levels above 15 ppm (parts per million). That means that if you have a lake with 1000 gallons of water in it, any more than .015 gallons of mercury would be considered poisonous.

  2. 0 Votes

    “Scientists believe that mercury levels are not dangerous until they reach levels above 15 ppm (parts per million). That means that if you have a lake with 1000 gallons of water in it, any more than .015 gallons of mercury would be considered poisonous.”

    While this is true, it should be clarified that while simply spilling .015 gallons of Mercury into a lake would be damaging, this is not how it happens.  Mercury gets into water ways through precipitation, which disperses the mercury, and makes it easier for it to be consumed by photosynthetics, and then up the food chain.  This means that the way mercury naturally enters the lake is much more harmful then (the already devestating practice of dropping a thermometer of mercury in the water).   

    You also have to remember that mercury is a bio-accumulate. So while one years worth of .015 gallons of mercury would be damaging, year after year of that same level of pollution is devestating, toxic, and debilitating to the reproductive and developmental health of humans.  Coal-fired power plants are the primary source of mercury emissions (currently unregulated federally), and many of the US coal-burning fleet is 50+ years old, averaging 48 tons a year.

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