Transferring of Hg Concentration from Ambient Air to Rain Water and Surface Soil in an Industrial urban Area

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Environmental Engineering, Khouzestan Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Department of Environmental Science, Khouzestan Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz, Iran

3 Environmental Consultant, Ph.D in Environmental Geology, Simpleks Co., Istanbul, Turkey


Mercury is a dangerous and an extremely toxic element, which can transfer to the food chain.
Presence of this element in the atmosphere particularly during the rainy seasons cause soil and environmental pollution, therefore this research will evaluate the transformation of mercury vapor from the atmosphere through precipitation into the soil. In the present study, mercury concentrations were determined during two seasons (winter and summer 2011) with 6 air, 14 rainwater and 6 soil, sampling stations. Collection, preparation and analysis of the air, rain, soil samples were based on NIOSH 6009, EPA1631 and EPA 7000 methods, respectively. Mercury concentration was determined by using cold vapor atomic absorption after sample preparation. The results show that the mean mercury vapour concentration in the air samples of Ahvaz city in winter and summer were 3.749± 2.625 ng/m3 and 2.379± 0.984 ng/m3 , respectively. Further, the range of this pollutant in the air of studied area during the summer and winter seasons were 1.83-3.962 ng/m3 and 1.394- 5.00 ng/m3, respectively. The highest value of Hg concentration in the rainwater sample was 0.77±0.0019 ppb and the mean concentration of mercury in the surface soil samples of the city was 0.511μg/g in winter. Finally, Mercury comparison between results of air and soil samples as well as air and precipitation samples at the winter season (p<0.01) showed a significant relationship.