Federal officials clean up Lawrence mercury spill

By Jesse Fray · May 7, 2009 · Comment on this

Federal authorities spent much of the week cleaning up a mercury spill in a Lawrence home.

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dedicatedtomyjob 8 years, 9 months ago

THIS HAPPENED MONDAY!!!! WHY IN THE WOLRD ARE WE JUST NOW HEARING ABOUT THIS??!!!!!!! have the people even been arrested yet?? is anyone going to answer for our communities misfortune??

Jaylee 8 years, 9 months ago

so they tried flushing a "pound" of mercury?

i have many questions!

1) How do you determine that you have cleaned all the Mercury when they attempted to flush it? Would not some of it remained in the lines of the toilet/house or flushed into city lines?

2) Mercury is liquid at room temperature. This is a fact that brings two separate questions to mind. The first being kind of trivial, but wouldn't Mercury, a liquid, be measured in volume, not weight? Now that I'm thinking about it, I have no idea how you measure Mercury, but volume for a liquid just makes sense to me.

3) The second question raised is half about the fact that Mercury is liquid at room temperature and half related to the sheer amount of this substance involved. My imagination is picturing a jug/beaker/any container with that much Mercury being poured out of it into a toilet.
It is seriously difficult in my mind to imagine in an old Lawrence house with it's quirky wood floors, etc. for these people to not have lost a few drops or more into some cracks (it would roll SOMEWHERE) in the process of handling that much.

4) Who lived there and where are they?

5) How the heck did they get ahold of that much Mercury?

Kryptenx 8 years, 9 months ago

From the original: "About a pound, or two to three tablespoons, of mercury inside a toilet spilled onto the floor of a bathroom inside the residence, creating a hazard, Environmental Protection Agency representatives said."

dedicatedtomyjob 8 years, 9 months ago

it is true that liquid is measured by volume, however it can be weighed. i think that reading a weight instead of a volume is more likely to impress the severity of the situation on us, the public's, minds.

Jaylee 8 years, 9 months ago

yeah the article was a little better, but still leaves all those questions and actually raised another.

1 lb. = 2-3 Tbs.?

it could be one or the other or somewhere in between, but if that small an amount weighs that much, the difference between 2 and 3 Tablespoons must be fairly great?

labmonkey 8 years, 9 months ago

A little mercury never hurt anyone. I mean we have to replace our old light bulbs with the twisty ones that contain mercury. And when we start disposing millions of those, the mercury seeping into the landfills won't hurt us. We should worry more about the CO2 these people are putting into the air as that is somehow a harmful substance.

Kirk Larson 8 years, 9 months ago

labmonkey What you fail to grasp is that coal fired power plants are spewing out mercury vapor in large quantities already. Using the twisty bulbs (CFL's) means using a LOT less energy which means a LOT less mercury coming out of the smoke stack. In fact I have read that if all the mercury were released from the used bulbs (which it won't because responsible adults will recycle them) it would still be less than the amount of mercury that would have been released from the plants emissions had the bulbs not been used. Add to that the greatly reduced CO2 emissions, less other pollutants, more available energy, less need to build more polluting plants....the benefits just go on and on.

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