Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mercury problems receiving increasing coverage

Two recent mass media articles highlight increasing awareness of our local mercury problems. The (appropriately-named) Mercury News wrote on how five of the top 20 mercury-contaminated water bodies in California are found here in Santa Clara County:
Almaden Lake, a popular San Jose city park off Almaden Expressway, has fish with the highest concentrations of mercury contamination in California, according to a new state study.

Four other bodies of water in Santa Clara County — Anderson, Uvas, Calero and Chesbro reservoirs — also rank among the top 20 lakes whose fish have the highest mercury concentrations in the state.
The findings come as part of a survey released Thursday by the State Water Resources Control Board. The agency tested 4,905 fish in 272 lakes and reservoirs during 2007 and 2008 for methyl mercury, PCBs, DDT and other contaminants, the most extensive such survey ever completed in the state.

And the website version of the San Francisco Chronicle covered the problem of mercury-contaminated fish just north in San Mateo County:
When researchers wanted to test largemouth bass at Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir for mercury levels, the reservoir's managers in San Francisco figured the scientists were simply looking for a clean sample to compare with toxic results at other spots.

Instead, the study showed that the fish in the San Mateo County lake - which collects rainwater as well as water piped in from Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy reservoir - had some of the highest mercury levels in the state.
Read more:

As in the case in San Mateo County, some of our mercury contamination is from far away, but we can take immediate steps to address our local contamination, which is one of the reasons for why I'm running for the Water District Board.


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