WATER QUALITY--Technical Information: Briefing Paper on Mercury In Reply Refer To: November 30, 1983 EGS-Mail Stop 412 QUALITY OF WATER BRANCH TECHNICAL MEMORANDUM NO. 84.04 Subject: WATER QUALITY--Technical Information: Briefing Paper on Mercury The Quality of Water Branch initiated a series of briefing papers 10 years ago to increase awareness and understanding in the Water Resources Division of various aspects of water quality. Attached is the most recent addition to the series, "Mercury: Sampling Constraints and Health Considerations," which was prepared by Scott Hamlin, a hydrologist with the California District. The impetus for this paper came from the results of an investigation of problems with the integrity of samples collected for the determination of mercury. Topics covered in this paper include the occurrence and reactions of mercury in natural and work-place environments, health-related aspects of mercury and its salts, and preservation of water samples for the determination of mercury. It is recommended that this paper be made generally available to Water Resources Division personnel involved in measuring streamflow or in collection or analysis of water- quality samples. Subsequent memorandums will provide guidance for the safe use of mercury and the preservation and shipping of water samples for the determination of mercury. R. J. Pickering Chief, Quality of Water Branch Attachment WRD Distribution: A, B, FO, PO Key Words: water quality, mercury, safety This memorandum does not supersede any previous memorandum.