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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Water Quality - NC Mercury TMDL

Water Quality

North Carolina Statewide Mercury Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)

A statewide mercury TMDL was developed to estimate the proportions of mercury contributions to water and fish from wastewater discharges, in-state air sources, and out-of-state air sources, and to calculate appropriate reductions needed. Click HERE for more information on mercury in North Carolina.

***  NC MERCURY TMDL SCHEDULE  ***

  • Past activities related to the NC Mercury TMDL can be found HERE
  • April 27, 2012  Draft Mercury TMDL available for formal public comment, Draft Post TMDL Wastewater Permitting Strategy and Reduction Options for Nonpoint Sources available for informal public comment
  • May 10, 2012  EMC meeting - mercury information item
  • May 14, 2012  Public meeting in Hickory, NC - INFORMATION BELOW
  • May 23, 2012  Public meeting in New Bern, NC - INFORMATION BELOW
  • June 18, 2012  Formal public comment on Draft NC Mercury TMDL ends
  • June - July, 2012  Revisions to the Draft NC Mercury TMDL as needed
  • July 12, 2012  EMC meeting
  • September 13, 2012  EMC meeting
  • October 12, 2012  EPA approved the NC Mercury TMDL

Two public meetings were held to provide information and consult with stakeholders on the draft mercury TMDL, post-TMDL wastewater permitting strategies and reduction options for nonpoint sources. The presentations from those meetings can be viewed here: 

 

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION ON MERCURY IN NORTH CAROLINA

Sources of Mercury

Mercury is a naturally occurring element. However, human activities have increased the amount of mercury that is available in the atmosphere, in soils and sediments, and in various water bodies. Anthropogenic mercury originates largely from air sources, such as coal-fired power plants and incinerators. Mercury in air falls as wet or dry deposition directly into waters, or onto adjacent lands, where it is washed off into surface waters when it rains. Some mercury is discharged in wastewater, although the amounts are usually very small compared to air sources. Most of the mercury found in the environment is in the form of metallic mercury and inorganic mercury compounds.

Mercury in Fish

Microorganisms in soils and sediments convert inorganic mercury to methylmercury. In this form, it is taken up by aquatic plants and animals. Fish that eat them build up, or bioaccumulate, methylmercury in their bodies. The highest concentrations of methylmercury are generally found in large fish that eat other fish. In North Carolina, the highest concentrations are usually found in largemouth bass and bowfin, and especially where mercury methylation rates are high.
 

North Carolina Mercury TMDL Past Activities

Contact Jing Lin for questions 

Last Updated: 3/26/2012

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