Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Sarah Swank

Degree Award Date

Spring 1998


Mercury Contamination, South River, South Fork Shenandoah River, industrial pollution, E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Environmental Health | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology | Toxicology


In this project I will discuss the general characteristics of mercury that make it toxic in the environment, including the effects on aquatic life and humans. Mercury enters the environment from various sources, many of which are natural. However, there have been instances in which industries have led directly to the pollution of an area. One such example that I will discuss in detail is the mercury contamination of the South River and South Fork Shenandoah River by E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company in Waynesboro, VA. I will analyze the studies that have been performed since the mercury problem was discovered in 1976 and determine if there are any trends toward improvement in the mercury concentration in water, sediments, and fish.