Advertisement

Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, 230:214 | Cite as

Comparison of Mercury Contamination in Four Indonesian Watersheds Affected by Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining of Varying Scale

  • Natalie M. Barkdull
  • Gregory T. CarlingEmail author
  • Kevin Rey
  • Dwi Fitri Yudiantoro
Article

Abstract

Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) accounts for almost half of anthropogenic mercury (Hg) emissions worldwide and causes widespread water pollution. In Indonesia, several studies have identified harmful levels of Hg in areas affected by ASGM. While most of these studies focus on mining areas with thousands of miners, water contamination in smaller ASGM areas is less understood. We evaluated Hg contamination in four ASGM areas in Central Java of varying scale (from 30 to 3000 amalgamator barrels at each area), including Jatiroto, Kebonsari, Gumelar, and Kulon Progo. At each location, we collected water samples along river transects upstream and downstream of ASGM areas during the dry season (June–July 2017). Total Hg (THg) concentrations in stream water increased by orders of magnitude from upstream to downstream of ASGM activities at Jatiroto (1.35–4730 ng/L), with smaller observed increases at the other locations. Dissolved THg concentrations exceeded USEPA criteria for aquatic life (12 ng/L) at two of the four ASGM areas. THg concentrations in tailings exceeded 150,000 ng/L. Notably, THg concentrations in stream water were not directly related to the scale of mining, with Jatiroto having the highest concentrations as second smallest mining areas of the four in this study. Downstream of the mining areas, the fraction of dissolved methyl Hg to dissolved THg reached 20%, indicating that active Hg methylation occurs in the watersheds. Further study is needed to investigate Hg transport in the wet season when rainfall and high stream discharge may mobilize contaminated sediment near mining areas.

Keywords

Trace elements Total mercury Methyl mercury Artisanal and small-scale gold mining ASGM Indonesia 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Research permits were obtained through Kemenristekdikti, the Indonesian foreign research permitting office (Govt. Regulation no. 41/2006). We are thankful for students and faculty at the Geological Engineering Department of Universitas Pembangunan Nasional (UPN) “Veteran” in Yogyakarta for their assistance and support in conducting this research. We also thank regional and local Indonesian government agencies and leaders that assisted in this research including: the Department of Energy and Natural Resources Central Java Province (Dinas Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral Provinsi Jawa Tengah), the Department of Mining and Energy in Pacitan East Java Province (Dinas Pertambangan dan Energi Kabupaten Pacitan Jawa Timur), Bpk. Harsono and Bpk. Ketik, and the gracious village leaders who welcomed us into their homes and helped us conduct this research.

Funding Information

Funding was provided by a Geological Society of America Graduate Student Research Grant and a Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship from the US Department of Education through Brigham Young University.

Supplementary material

11270_2019_4271_MOESM1_ESM.docx (274 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 274 kb)
11270_2019_4271_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (37 kb)
ESM 2 (XLSX 37 kb)

References

  1. AMAP/UNEP (2013). AMAP/UNEP technical background report for the global mercury assessment 2013: final technical report; output.Google Scholar
  2. Babiarz, C. L., Hurley, J. P., Hoffmann, S. R., Andren, A. W., Shafer, M. M., & Armstrong, D. E. (2001). Partitioning of total mercury and methylmercury to the colloidal phase in freshwaters. Environmental Science & Technology, 35(24), 4773–4782.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beavis, S., McWilliam, A. (2018). Muddy rivers and toxic flows: Risks and impacts of artisanal gold-mining in the riverine catchments of Bombana, Southeast Sulawesi (Indonesia). Between the Plough and the Pick: Informal, Artisanal and Small-scale Mining in the Contemporary World, 295–310.Google Scholar
  4. Bethke, C., Farrell, B., Yeakel, S. (2018). The Geochemist’s workbench, version 12.0: GWB essentials guide. Aqueous solutions, LLC, Champaign, Illinois, US.Google Scholar
  5. Bishop, K., Lee, Y.-H., Pettersson, C., & Allard, B. (1995). Methylmercury in runoff from the Svartberget catchment in northern Sweden during a stormflow episode. In Mercury as a Global Pollutant (pp. 221-224): Springer.Google Scholar
  6. Bose-O'Reilly, S., Drasch, G., Beinhoff, C., Rodrigues-Filho, S., Roider, G., Lettmeier, B., et al. (2010). Health assessment of artisanal gold miners in Indonesia. Science of the Total Environment, 408(4), 713–725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carling, G. T., Diaz, X., Ponce, M., Perez, L., Nasimba, L., Pazmino, E., et al. (2013). Particulate and dissolved trace element concentrations in three southern Ecuador rivers impacted by artisanal gold mining. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 224(2), 1415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Castilhos, Z. C., Rodrigues-Filho, S., Rodrigues, A. P. C., Villas-Bôas, R. C., Siegel, S., Veiga, M. M., et al. (2006). Mercury contamination in fish from gold mining areas in Indonesia and human health risk assessment. Science of the Total Environment, 368(1), 320–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clarkson, T. W. (1997). The toxicology of mercury. Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, 34(4), 369–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Elvince, R., Inoue, T., Tsushima, K., Takayanagi, R., Darung, U., Gumiri, S., et al. (2008). Assessment of mercury contamination in the Kahayan river, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Journal of Water and Environment Technology, 6(2), 103–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fitzgerald, W., & Lamborg, C. (2003). Geochemistry of mercury in the environment. Treatise on geochemistry, 9, 612.Google Scholar
  12. Gaillardet, J., Viers, J., & Dupré, B. (2003). Trace elements in river waters. Treatise on geochemistry, 5, 605.Google Scholar
  13. Gray, J. E., Labson, V. F., Weaver, J. N., & Krabbenhoft, D. P. (2002). Mercury and methylmercury contamination related to artisanal gold mining, Suriname. Geophysical Research Letters, 29, 2105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gray, J. E., & Hines, M. E. (2009). Biogeochemical mercury methylation influenced by reservoir eutrophication, Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir, Idaho, USA. Chemical Geology, 258(3–4), 157–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Harijoko, A., Htun, T. M., Saputra, R., Warmada, I. W., Setijadji, L. D., Imai, A., et al. (2010). Mercury and arsenic contamination from small scale gold mining activities at Selogiri area, Central Java, Indonesia. Journal of Applied Geology, 2(1).Google Scholar
  16. Hurley, J. P., Benoit, J. M., Babiarz, C. L., Shafer, M. M., Andren, A. W., Sullivan, J. R., et al. (1995). Influences of watershed characteristics on mercury levels in Wisconsin rivers. Environmental Science & Technology, 29(7), 1867–1875.  https://doi.org/10.1021/es00007a026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hurley, J. P., Cowell, S. E., Shafer, M. M., & Hughes, P. E. (1998). Tributary loading of mercury to Lake Michigan: Importance of seasonal events and phase partitioning. Science of the Total Environment, 213(1–3), 129–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. IAEA/WMO. (2019). Global network of isotopes in precipitation. The GNIP Database. Accessible at: https://nucleus.iaea.org/wiser.
  19. Iqbal, R., & Inoue, T. (2011). Mercury pollution in Java Island: Past and present. Journal of Ecotechnology Research, 16(2), 51–57.Google Scholar
  20. Ismawati, Y., Petrlik, J., Digangi, J. (2013). Mercury hotspots in Indonesia.Google Scholar
  21. Kirk, G. (2004). The biogeochemistry of submerged soils. John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  22. Krisnayanti, B. D., Anderson, C. W., Utomo, W. H., Feng, X., Handayanto, E., Mudarisna, N., et al. (2012). Assessment of environmental mercury discharge at a four-year-old artisanal gold mining area on Lombok Island, Indonesia. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 14(10), 2598–2607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Limbong, D., Kumampung, J., Rimper, J., Arai, T., & Miyazaki, N. (2003). Emissions and environmental implications of mercury from artisanal gold mining in north Sulawesi, Indonesia. Science of the Total Environment, 302(1–3), 227–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Luoma, S. N. (1983). Bioavailability of trace metals to aquatic organisms—A review. Science of the Total Environment, 28(1–3), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lyons, W. B., Welch, K. A., & Bonzongo, J. C. (1999). Mercury in aquatic systems in Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters, 26, 2235–2238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mansfield, C. R., & Black, F. J. (2015). Quantification of monomethylmercury in natural waters by direct ethylation: Interference characterization and method optimization. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 13(2), 81–91.Google Scholar
  27. McCune, B., Mefford, M. (1999). PC-ORD: multivariate analysis of ecological data; Version 4 for Windows;[User's Guide]: MjM software design.Google Scholar
  28. Mitchell, C. P., Branfireun, B. A., & Kolka, R. K. (2008). Spatial characteristics of net methylmercury production hot spots in peatlands. Environmental Science & Technology, 42(4), 1010–1016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nakazawa, K., Nagafuchi, O., Kawakami, T., Inoue, T., Yokota, K., Serikawa, Y., et al. (2016). Human health risk assessment of mercury vapor around artisanal small-scale gold mining area, Palu city, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 124, 155–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. NRC (2000). Toxicological effects of methylmercury: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  31. Nriagu, J. O. (1990). Human influence on the global cycling of trace metals. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 82(1–2), 113–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Obrist, D., Kirk, J. L., Zhang, L., Sunderland, E. M., Jiskra, M., & Selin, N. E. (2018). A review of global environmental mercury processes in response to human and natural perturbations: Changes of emissions, climate, and land use. Ambio, 47(2), 116–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pattelli, G., Rimondi, V., Benvenuti, M., Chiarantini, L., Colica, A., Costagliola, P., et al. (2014). Effects of the November 2012 flood event on the mobilization of Hg from the Mount Amiata Mining District to the sediments of the Paglia River Basin. Minerals, 4(2), 241–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Qiu, G., Feng, X., Li, P., Wang, S., Li, G., Shang, L., et al. (2008). Methylmercury accumulation in rice (Oryza sativa L.) grown at abandoned mercury mines in Guizhou, China. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 56(7), 2465–2468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rothenberg, S. E., Windham-Myers, L., & Creswell, J. E. (2014). Rice methylmercury exposure and mitigation: A comprehensive review. Environmental Research, 133, 407–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rothenberg, S. E., Yin, R., Hurley, J. P., Krabbenhoft, D. P., Ismawati, Y., Hong, C., et al. (2017). Stable mercury isotopes in polished rice (Oryza Sativa L.) and hair from rice consumers. Environmental Science & Technology, 51(11), 6480–6488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sari, M. M., Inoue, T., Matsumoto, Y., & Yokota, K. (2016). Measuring total mercury due to small-scale gold mining activities to determine community vulnerability in Cihonje, Central Java, Indonesia. Water Science and Technology, 73(2), 437–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Scheuhammer, A. (1987). The chronic toxicity of aluminium, cadmium, mercury, and lead in birds: A review. Environmental Pollution, 46(4), 263–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schuster, P., Shanley, J., Marvin-Dipasquale, M., Reddy, M., Aiken, G., Roth, D., et al. (2008). Mercury and organic carbon dynamics during runoff episodes from a northeastern USA watershed. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 187(1–4), 89–108.Google Scholar
  40. Shanley, J. B., Bishop, K. (2012). Mercury cycling in terrestrial watersheds. In M. S. Bank (Ed.), Mercury in the environment (1 ed., pp. 119–142, Pattern and Process): University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sherman, L. S., Blum, J. D., Basu, N., Rajaee, M., Evers, D. C., Buck, D. G., et al. (2015). Assessment of mercury exposure among small-scale gold miners using mercury stable isotopes. Environmental Research, 137, 226–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sigg, L., Behra, P., Stumm, W. (2001). Chimie des milieux aquatiques. Dunod.Google Scholar
  43. Smyth, H. R., Hall, R., & Nichols, G. J. (2008). Cenozoic volcanic arc history of East Java, Indonesia: The stratigraphic record of eruptions on an active continental margin. Special Papers-Geological Society of America, 436, 199.Google Scholar
  44. Spiegel, S. J., Agrawal, S., Mikha, D., Vitamerry, K., Le Billon, P., Veiga, M., et al. (2018). Phasing out mercury? Ecological economics and Indonesia’s small-scale gold mining sector. Ecological Economics, 144, 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Swartzendruber, P., Jaffe, D. (2012). Sources and transport: A global issue. In M. S. Bank (Ed.), Mercury in the environment (1 ed., pp. 3–18, Pattern and Process): University of California Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Telmer, K. H., Veiga, M. M. (2009). World emissions of mercury from artisanal and small scale gold mining. In Mercury fate and transport in the global atmosphere (pp. 131-172): Springer.Google Scholar
  47. Todorova, S. G., Driscoll, C. T., Jr., Matthews, D. A., Effler, S. W., Hines, M. E., & Henry, E. A. (2009). Evidence for regulation of monomethyl mercury by nitrate in a seasonally stratified, eutrophic lake. Environmental Science & Technology, 43(17), 6572–6578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tomiyasu, T., Kono, Y., Kodamatani, H., Hidayati, N., & Rahajoe, J. S. (2013). The distribution of mercury around the small-scale gold mining area along the Cikaniki river, Bogor, Indonesia. Environmental Research, 125, 12–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. USEPA. (2002). Method 1631, revision E: Mercury in water by oxidation, purge and trap, and cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectrometry, 38 pp.Google Scholar
  50. Whyte, D. C., & Kirchner, J. W. (2000). Assessing water quality impacts and cleanup effectiveness in streams dominated by episodic mercury discharges. Science of the Total Environment, 260(1–3), 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Yasuda, M., Syawal, M. S., Sikder, M. T., Hosokawa, T., Saito, T., Tanaka, S., et al. (2011). Metal concentrations of river water and sediments in West Java, Indonesia. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 87(6), 669–673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geological Sciences, S389 Eyring Science CenterBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Geology Department, Jl. SWK 104 (Lingkar Utara) CondongcaturUniversitas Pembangunan Nasional Veteran YogyakartaYogyakartaIndonesia

Personalised recommendations