Mercury Remediation Process for Laboratories
Identify all mercury, mercury compounds and mercury containing devices in each laboratory. This should involve a drawer by drawer search of the entire laboratory. Determine if the identified mercury is essential to the operation of the laboratory:
- If the mercury containing device is no longer used... get rid of it. Please call the Environmental Health & Safety Department to arrange for its proper disposal. (414-288-8411)
- If the mercury containing device is used and needed for the laboratory, but can be replaced with a non-mercury containing device, then replace it and have EH&S remove the old device (as above). This may be costly, but the reductions in the risk associated with mercury spills are profound.
- If the device is both essential and cannot be replaced with a non-mercury containing alternative, then the mercury within the device or container must be reported and approved by EH&S. Laboratories requiring the continued use of mercury must contact EH&S to request an exception. This accountability will better ensure that all devices are properly safe-guarded to minimize breakage and spillage. This is especially critical for breakable or corrodible devices and containers. Safe-guarding the mercury from future accidental release may involve one or more of the following:
- To prevent breakage, install strong bumper guards around exposed breakable parts (especially glass parts).
- To contain mercury in the event of a spill, use secondary containment (place the device in a pan or affix a solid barrier under or around it).
- To prevent tipping or falling, move it to a safer location (away from the edge of a shelf or away from a high traffic area) or secure the device to a stable support (like a wall or a frame work).
- To prevent accidents due to neglect, do regular inspection & maintenance on the equipment and create a safe place for its proper storage.
- Report the existence of all mercury, mercury compounds, and mercury containing devices in your laboratory and work area to the Environmental, Health & Safety Department. Remember, all sources of mercury are to be eliminated unless there is no viable alternative.
Essential use is defined as: a circumstance where no acceptable alternative for the current use can be located or where it is found that implementation of an alternative would create a significant long-term financial hardship to the department or research project.
The following form must be completed and returned to EH&S for the continued use of all essential mercury containing devices:
Mercury Containing Device Retention Justification Form
You may email completed forms to firstname.lastname@example.org