Effects of brownfield remediation on total gaseous mercury concentrations in an urban landscape

Linghui Meng, Charles T. Driscoll, Mario Montesdeoca, Huiting Mao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In order to obtain a better perspective of the impacts of brownfields on the land–atmosphere exchange of mercury in urban areas, total gaseous mercury (TGM) was measured at two heights (1.8 m and 42.7 m) prior to 2011–2012 and after 2015–2016 for the remediation of a brownfield and installation of a parking lot adjacent to the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Syracuse, NY, USA. Prior to brownfield remediation, the annual average TGM concentrations were 1.6 ± 0.6 and 1.4 ± 0.4 ng·m−3 at the ground and upper heights, respectively. After brownfield remediation, the annual average TGM concentrations decreased by 32% and 22% at the ground and the upper height, respectively. Mercury soil flux measurements during summer after remediation showed net TGM deposition of 1.7 ng·m−2·day−1 suggesting that the site transitioned from a mercury source to a net mercury sink. Measurements from the Atmospheric Mercury Network (AMNet) indicate that there was no regional decrease in TGM concentrations during the study period. This study demonstrates that evasion from mercury-contaminated soil significantly increased local TGM concentrations, which was subsequently mitigated after soil restoration. Considering the large number of brownfields, they may be an important source of mercury emissions source to local urban ecosystems and warrant future study at additional locations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number387
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2 2020



  • Brownfield
  • Diurnal and seasonal variation
  • Total gaseous mercury concentrations
  • Urban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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