MERCURY CONCENTRATIONS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SAMPLES COLLECTED FROM FISHING CREEK, MILL HALL, PENNSYLVANIA
Fishing Creek originates above the town of Tylersville, PA and flows northeast into Bald Eagle Creek at Mill Hall, PA. Bald Eagle Creek enters the Susquehanna River at Lock Haven, PA. The study area surrounds a bridge over Fishing Creek that connects Route 64 to the town of Mill Hall, PA. Storm drain systems that drain excess rain and runoff from impervious surfaces, including paved streets, parking lots, sidewalks, and roofs in Mill Hall east of the stream, empty directly into Fishing Creek receiving surface water near the bridge. Flocks of mixed breeds of waterfowl live year round along the stream bank at the bridge. Environmental samples consisting of sediment and waterfowl feathers were collected and geographically referenced using GPS. All samples were analyzed using a Milestone DMA-80 Tricell Direct Mercury Analyzer. Concentrations in sediment collected from non-impacted areas upstream from the storm drain outfall ranged from 10 to 17 ppb mercury. Sediment samples collected directly beneath the storm drain outfall contained concentrations between 54 and 85 ppb mercury. These data indicate a 400% increase in mercury concentration at the storm drain outfall. Waterfowl feathers collected immediately after molting near the impacted area contained concentrations between 24 and 151 ppb mercury. Preliminary data indicate that mercury may be accumulating locally in sediment near the waterfowl habitat through runoff in the storm drain system. Mercury concentrations in feathers from waterfowl in the Mill Hall area will be presented and compared to mercury concentrations in feathers from waterfowl in habitats in other areas of Pennsylvania.