Mercury Minimization Program
It is extremely costly to remove mercury from the raw sewage influent at a wastewater treatment plant. Costs range from $10,000,000 to $100,000,000 to remove one pound of mercury. We have chosen to reduce mercury by minimizing its use in the community; therefore, reducing the amount that potentially would be discharged into the sanitary sewers and eventually end up in our streams, rivers and lakes.
Assessing the sources of mercury within any community is a valuable tool, which we have already begun to evaluate and implement.
Typical facilities where mercury is found:
- Dental offices
- Wastewater Treatment Works - self-assessment performed at both plants, reduction activities in progress
- Education/Research facilities - schools, laboratories, industrial sites
- Automobile recycling
Don't Mess with Mercury
"Don't Mess With Mercury" was an article recently written in a previous newsletter.
Many common household items contain small amounts of mercury. These items pose no threat when used properly; however, they can be dangerous if they are misused or improperly discarded. The following is a list of a few items that potentially contain mercury. Please remember that items on this list do not necessarily contain mercury, as many mercury-free alternatives exist. If you suspect that you have mercury containing items, contact the manufacturer for proper disposal information when they need to be replaced or discarded.
Non-digital thermostats, including some in appliances:
- Water heaters
- Clothes dryers
- Space heaters
- Chest freezers
- Washing machines
- Sump pumps
- Clothes irons
- Electric space heaters
- Silent light switches
- Fluorescent lamps**
- High-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs
- Fever thermometers
- Saline Solutions
- Button-cell batteries
- Unused pre-1990 paint
- Old alkaline batteries
- Clock pendulums
**Fluorescent lamps are more energy-efficient than their alternatives and should continue to be used.
For additional information - please visit the websites listed below:
- Forty-four states now issue warnings about eating mercury contaminated fish.
- There is between a half of a gram (0 .02 oz.) and three grams (0.1 oz.) of mercury in a fever thermometer.
- The EPA has determined that the level of mercury safe for fish-eating wildlife in the Great Lakes is no more than 1.3 billionths of a gram of mercury per liter of water (0.17 billionths of an ounce of mercury per gallon of water). This is equivalent to a drop of mercury the size of a pencil-tip eraser in a pool of water as long, wide and deep as Cleveland Browns Stadium.