All News Releases By Date
EPA TO STUDY MERCURY AIR EMISSION IMPACT IN FLORIDA EVERGLADES AND WISCONSIN
Release Date: 02/19/99
FOR RELEASE: FEBRUARY 19, 1999
EPA TO STUDY MERCURY AIR EMISSION IMPACT IN
FLORIDA EVERGLADES AND WISCONSIN
EPA will soon begin a $400,000 pilot project in the Florida Everglades and Wisconsin to investigate the best methods for understanding and reducing mercury air emissions that may contaminate lakes, rivers and other waterbodies nationwide. Many states have identified mercury as a major cause of water quality problems. Mercury, emitted into the air by activities such as burning waste and fossil fuel, is a toxic pollutant that can cause health effects in humans and other mammals, with young children being at greatest risk. This cooperative, voluntary effort – the first time EPA and the states have tackled mercury air deposition and its effect on water quality -- will be conducted in a roughly 700 square-mile portion of the Everglades 30 miles west of Miami known as Water Conservation Area 3A, and in Devil’s Lake, a small waterbody near Madison, Wis., with a watershed of about two and a half square miles. Both these areas are on their state’s list of “impaired” waterbodies, and in public advisories to limit fish consumption due to high levels of mercury in fish. The goals of the project include determining the relative contributions of mercury air emissions and wastewater from various sources; identifying how much deposition comes from local and distant sources; and assessing how federal and state air and water programs can work together in reducing mercury contamination of water. EPA plans to release the project results in about a year. This project will help States develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for waterbodies contaminated by mercury. TMDLs are a key requirement of the Clean Water Act, whereby a State identifies specific waterbodies that do not meet water quality standards and establishes specific pollution reduction targets for meeting those standards. States have estimated that approximately 2,000 waterbodies are polluted by mercury and other metals, many from air sources; TMDLs will be required for each of these waterbodies. For further information, contact Randy Waite of EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards at 919-541-5447 (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Ruth Chemerys of EPA’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds at 202-260-9038 (email@example.com). For general information on TMDLs and EPA’s air quality programs, see https://www.epa.gov/OWOW/tmdl/index.html as well as https://www.epa.gov/oar/oaqps.