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EPA concludes Mercury Cleanup in Yakima, WA


Emergency cleanup of liquid mercury at two homes on South Sixth Street in Yakima, Washington has been completed.

Officials and representatives of the cooperating cleanup agencies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Washington State Department of Ecology, the Yakima Health District and the Yakima Fire Department are now dismantling their equipment and leaving the site.

One of the families, with the approval of the Yakima Health District, should be able to move back into their home later this evening. The other family will be able to move back into their home once replacement flooring, carpeting, sinks and other interior installations have been installed by a contractor.

Total EPA cleanup contractor costs, including disposal of all the mercury contaminated debris and other expenses not tallied yet, are expected to be more than $265,000.

Citizens who are concerned that they may have been exposed to mercury are encouraged to contact their personal physician or call the health districtís help desk at 249-6508.

Residents are urged to dispose of mercury or mercury-containing products at the household hazardous waste facility at the Terrace Heights Landfill, 7151 Roza Hill Drive during regular operating hours.

According to the Yakima County solid waste program, a recent mercury-product collection, held Friday and Saturday, April 20-21, at the Terrace Heights landfill, was extremely successful. Residents safely disposed of nearly 1,600 pieces of mercury-related products during the special emphasis collection at the household hazardous waste facility.

In all, citizens brought in 50 pounds of elemental (liquid) mercury, 74 thermometers, 8 mercury switches, 185 eight-foot fluorescent tubes and 713 four-foot fluorescent tubes.

The special collection event was made possible by a grant from the Washington Department of Ecology, which will help pay for properly recycling or disposing of the mercury products.

Citizens are encouraged to dispose of their household hazardous products, including paint, solvents and mercury products, Wednesday through Saturday at the facility.


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