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Mercury in the Lake Simcoe aquatic environment

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Title: Mercury in the Lake Simcoe aquatic environment
Author: Water Resources Planning Unit, Planning and Co-ordination Section, Water Resources Branch, Ministry of the Environment
Abstract: Since 1970 when mercury was first measured in fish and sediment from watercourses adjacent to industrial mercury sources (e.g. the St. Clair River - Lake St. Clair system of the Great Lakes and the English - Wabigoon River system of northwestern Ontario), the Province of Ontario has expanded its surveillance program to lakes and streams throughout Ontario. Popular angling species have been collected for mercury analysis from Lake Simcoe over the past few years. For the most part, fish from this lake are low in mercury (less than 0.5 parts per million) and suitable for consumption. Some of the larger predatory fish however, most notably walleye (yellow pickerel), do contain levels of mercury that make these fish suitable only for occasional consumption. The very large walleye (over 30 inches in length) are not recommended for consumption at all. No significant industrial source of mercury in the Lake Simcoe Basin has been identified, therefore, the cause of elevated levels in the large walleye could not be immediately identified. In order to better evaluate the mercury levels and possible sources in the basin, an extensive field survey program was implemented in the winter of 1977. Samples of fish, water and sediments were collected throughout the lake. Existing or past sources that could potentially contribute mercury (municipal discharges, agricultural drainage, sanitary landfill site runoff, etc.) were studied. The following report outlines the findings of the investigation and draws conclusions about the significance of mercury in fish from Lake Simcoe.
Date: 1978
Rights: Queen's Printer for Ontario, Crown Copyright, Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights Holder: Queen's Printer for Ontario
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