Bay Area Peninsula’s Mercury Problem Continues to Attract Attention (Guest Post)

(Another guest post by CGF Intern Anthony Aerts, taking a break from his other research to return to the mercury issue.  -Brian Schmidt)

            A few weeks ago, I wrote about a Mercury News article which detailed the mercury contamination in Santa Clara County bodies of water. The article suggested that the origin of the problem might be traced back to the County’s use of mercury in its intense mining history. However, a recent SF Chronicle article discussed how levels of mercury beyond the safe consumption threshold have also been found in fish living in the Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir of San Mateo County. Crystal Springs is one of several water storage facilities, managed by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, used to supply drinking water to surrounding municipalities. Researchers are unsure of the source of the mercury in Lower Crystal Springs, but have suggested that atmospheric deposition carrying pollution across the ocean from China may be to blame. If this were the case, it would raise the additional need for air monitoring systems as a means for combating the mercury’s spread. As this problem continues to attract wider attention, it goes to highlight the need for a swift and dedicated approach to resolving the issue. 

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