, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 50-64

Water pollution in Lake Michigan by trace elements from pollution aerosol fallout

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Certain trace elements which are strongly associated with air pollution sources in the Lake Michigan basin may be contributing significantly to lake water pollution by an atmospheric fallout route. In this paper a partial inventory of air pollution emissions for 30 trace elements is presented for the Chicago, Milwaukee, and northwest Indiana metropolitan areas, based on available published information. The inventory is then compared with actual stream inputs measured for Zn, Cu, and Ni and with estimates of pre-industrial unpolluted stream inputs for 28 elements. Evidence indicates that the atmosphere may now be a major source of Zn in Lake Michigan, and atmospheric inputs of Cu and Ni may also be considerable. Moreover, the evidence suggests that air pollution probably exceeds expected unpolluted stream inputs for many additional elements in Lake Michigan, highlighting the need for more comprehensive chemical data to quantify the evaluation.