AUGUSTA, GA. (WFXG) - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spent the weekend cleaning up a mercury spill reported at a Richmond County home. It happened in the 2400 block of Brentwood Place Sunday, May 5. People passing by the home noticed belongings under a tarp in the front yard. The EPA said items were removed from the home because of the vapors the hazardous material emits and the tarp was to protect the items from the rain.
Gregory Harper, an On-Scene Coordinator with the EPA, told FOX 54 the homeowner said someone accidentally knocked over a jar holding between 6 to 8 fluid ounces of mercury last week.
That spill was reported to the Georgia Poison Center and that agency contacted the EPA. The EPA came to the home Friday, May 10 to conduct an assessment. Then, the EPA contracted two different companies to monitor the air and clean up the hazardous material. Cleanup began Saturday morning, according to the On-Scene Coordinator.
The On-Scene Coordinator said crews will conduct a series of air monitoring based on the CDC’s regulations that will ensure the area’s safe for everyone. He said the public is not and was never at risk.
“This happens more often than you’d expect,” EPA On-Scene Coordinator Gregory Harper told FOX 54. To put it in perspective, the EPA responded to a similar incident in South Carolina two weeks ago.
The homeowner told the EPA representative she does not know how the jar of mercury got into the home, as the residence belongs to her parents who no longer live there. Once the hazardous material is collected, it will go to a facility. Things in the home that came in contact with it will be tested and sorted according to risk level, according to the On-Scene Coordinator.
If you come in contact with Mercury, contact your local environmental agency, health department or a haz mat team.