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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Determination of Total Mercury in Soils and Sediments1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 4 No. 3, p. 323-325
    Received: Oct 15, 1974

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  1. M. Floyd and
  2. L. E. Sommers2



A simple one-step digestion procedure was evaluated for extracting total mercury from soils and sediments. The procedure evaluated involves digesting soil or sediment samples with concentrated HNO3 and 4N K2Cr2O7 (2:1, vol/vol) for 4 hours at 55C and analyzing mercury in the extract by flameless atomic absorption. Recovery of total mercury from diverse samples was comparable to or exceeded that obtained by four alternative total mercury procedures. Essentially quantitative recovery of mercury was obtained when samples were amended with mercuric chloride, methylmercuric chloride, phenylmercuric acetate, and mercuric sulfide. The procedure developed was precise with coefficients of variation ranging from 1 to 3%. Parameters affecting the quantitative extraction of total mercury were studied.

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