The 2006 General Assembly of Virginia enacted legislation (HB1055/SB651) that requires the Department of Environmental Quality to conduct a detailed assessment of mercury deposition in Virginia. This assessment will be used to determine whether there is justification to undertake additional measures to control mercury emissions in Virginia.
DEQ staff solicited proposals through the Request for Proposal (RFP) process for candidates to conduct the detailed assessment of mercury deposition in Virginia. The RFP included a mercury air emissions data analysis, a modeling assessment of mercury deposition, an analysis of the mercury deposition impact on fish tissue concentrations resulting from Virginia sources, as well as information on the human health risks from consuming methylmercury-contaminated fish.
In February 2007, two contracts were awarded for the assessment. One contract was awarded to ICF International (ICF) for work relating to the mercury emissions data analysis and mercury deposition modeling portions of the study. Specifically, ICF’s proposal includes mercury deposition model simulations that can be used by VADEQ to examine the following: (1) the contribution of air emissions to mercury deposition for the list of Virginia’s “impaired” water bodies and other mercury sensitive waters; (2) the impact of Virginia’s Electric Generating Unit sector’s mercury emissions on mercury deposition in Virginia, including an evaluation of the benefits of the Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) and the additional statutory requirements facilities must meet to control mercury emissions; (3) the impact of Virginia’s non-EGU mercury emissions on mercury deposition in Virginia; (4) the individual impact of a selected number of Virginia facilities to local (i.e., hot spot) and regional scale mercury deposition.
Additional ICF study details available at this time include the project timeline, detailed work plan, and quality assurance plan. On May 31, 2007, ICF presented an update of the Virginia Mercury Study with a PowerPoint presentation at the first quarterly status meeting held at the DEQ office in Richmond.
The conceptual model provides insight into some key questions regarding the nature of mercury deposition. For this study, the description is based on observed mercury deposition data, meteorological data, emissions inventory information, and some recent existing mercury deposition modeling results. More detailed information is available in the conceptual model report.
The inventory phase of the mercury study has been completed and the results are contained in the report titled “The Virginia Mercury Study: Review and Assessment of Virginia Mercury Emissions Data and Recent Mercury Studies.” The report summarizes a review and analysis of the sources of atmospheric mercury emissions located within the Commonwealth of Virginia and surrounding areas. The bibliography contains links to documents referenced in the report.
The mercury deposition modeling portion of the study has been completed and results are contained in the report titled “Mercury Deposition Modeling for the Virginia Mercury Study, Final Report.” For information regarding this study, please contact Mike Kiss or Patty Buonviri.
A second contract was awarded to the Center for Environmental Studies at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to assess the human health risks from consuming methylmercury-contaminated fish. VCU’s study will focus on understanding the risks of consuming methylmercury through seafood by sensitive sub-populations of Virginia. This study will take into account DEQ’s fish tissue database and on-site fish consumption data to arrive at estimates of risks to human health. These estimates of risks to human health will thereafter be monetized by VADEQ to arrive at potential economic benefits and costs due to current levels of mercury and potential future reductions.
Additional VCU study details available at this time include the project timeline. Other information will be made available as the study progresses.
The VCU study portion of the study has been completed and results are contained in the report titled “Fish Consumption and Human Health Risks.”
The final Virginia Mercury Study Report is now available.