Optimization and application of a low cost, colorimetric screening method for mercury in marine sediment

  • Olga Cavoura
  • Christine M. Davidson
  • Nicholas Katsiris
  • Helen E. Keenan


A rapid, inexpensive, colorimetric screening method for mercury (Hg) has been optimized to provide a semi-quantitative measurement of Hg concentration in marine sediment within the range 0.038 to 1.5 mg kg−1 encompassing the interim sediment quality guideline (ISQG) value of 0.13 mg kg−1 (CCME 1999) and the probable effects level (PEL) of 0.7 mg kg−1 for Hg in marine sediment (CCME 1999). Neither salinity (up to 41 practical salinity units (psu)) nor sediment organic matter (ΟΜ) content (up to 10%) affected the performance of the method. Accurate results were obtained for spike recovery experiments and analysis of certified reference material (CRM) BCR 580 Estuarine Sediment. The method was applied to sediment samples from Elefsina Bay, Greece. Screening results indicated Hg contamination in the bay, with concentrations exceeding the PEL value. Findings were confirmed by quantitative analysis of the samples by cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry (CV-AAS), where results in the range 1.4–2.96 mg kg−1 were determined.


Mercury Screening Colorimetric Marine Sediment Elefsina 



Sampling was carried out in cooperation with the Organization for the Development of the Thriasino Plain, Greece.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sanitary Engineering and Environmental Health, National School of Public HealthAthensGreece
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK
  3. 3.WestCHEM, Department of Pure and Applied ChemistryUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK

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