Mercury Spills and How You Can Avoid Them

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  • Mercury Spills & How You

    Can Avoid ThemLessons from real-world emergency responses

  • Meet Your Moderator:

    James Ciccone

  • During This Webinar All lines will be muted.

    Communicate via the questions tab in your

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    Unanswered questions will be responded to after

    the webinar.

    Webinar recording and slides will be emailed to

    you tomorrow.

  • Meet Your Presenter

    Ryan Miller

    Engineering Project Manager

    Triumvirate Environmental

  • AgendaBackground on Mercury

    Mercury Vapor Measurement & Regulations

    Mercury Spill Response

    Case Studies


  • What is Mercury?

    Naturally occurring element that in its

    pure form is a liquid that volatizes


    Exposure at high levels can harm the

    brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and

    immune systems

    Mercury vapor is colorless and


  • Where Can

    It Be Found?Thermometers



    Light bulbs


    Coal and other rocks

    Coal-burning power plants are the

    largest human-caused source of

    mercury emissions to the air in the

    United States

  • Why is Mercury Used?

    Mercury has a unique combination of physical properties:

    Low Melting Point: -38F (Lead for example is 622F)

    Low Boiling Point: 674F (Lead for example is 3,182F)

    Uniform volume expansion over the entire range of

    temperatures in its liquid state and high surface tension

    (does not wet glass)

  • Mercury

    Devices in

    Your Facility

  • Poll Question

    Are you storing old,

    obsolete, or unused

    mercury containing


  • Mercury in

    PlumbingMercury poured into drains

    can remain in the plumbing

    indefinitely, until it is

    physically removed or the

    plumbing is replaced.

  • Mercury in


  • Mercury in Soil

  • AgendaBackground on Mercury

    Mercury Vapor Measurement & Regulations

    Mercury Spill Response

    Case Studies


  • Mercury Vapor

    Measurement Various methods are used to detect

    and quantify mercury vapors in air

    Vapor detection limits vary


    Regulations and guidance

    concentrations can be in milligrams

    per cubic meter (mg/m3),

    micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3),

    or nanograms per cubic meter


  • Mercury Vapor Measurement

  • Mercury Vapor Measurement

    Triumvirate utilizes the Jerome J-505 for most mercury vapor monitoring activities.

    Monitoring Device Detection Limit

    Drger tubes 0.05 mg/m3

    Jerome J-505 0.00005 mg/m3

    Lab (EPA Method 6009) 0.002 mg/m3

    Lumex 0.00005 mg/m3

    Jerome 431-X 0.003 mg/m3 ( 0.003 mg/m3)

    X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Analyzer 10 to 20 mg/kg

  • Mercury Meter Interferences Potential interferences to the Jerome 431-X mercury vapor analyzer have been

    identified and are listed in the Manufactures Owners Manual

    Erroneously high readings can sometimes occur with the presence of:


    High levels of CO, CO2, and SO2 Water vapor/condensation

    Chlorine and Ammonia

    NO2 Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)

    Most mercaptans (organic sulfur compounds or thiols)

    There are no known interferences with the Jerome J505 or Lumex meters

  • Regulations and

    Guidance OSHA established a PEL as a ceiling value of

    0.1 mg/m3, the only legally enforceable federal

    U.S. standard

    NIOSH set a REL of 0.05 mg/m3 as a 10-hour,

    time weighted average

    The ACGIH recommended the most recent

    occupational exposure standard as the TLV-

    TWA of 0.025 mg/m3

    The ATSDR recommends risk managers

    isolate humans from mercury spills when a

    concentration level of 0.01 mg/m3

  • Clean Up GuidanceCLEANUP GUIDANCE

    ATSDR Limits

  • AgendaBackground on Mercury

    Mercury Vapor Measurement & Regulations

    Mercury Spill Response

    Case Studies


  • Worker Health and SafetySpills within a facility can pose a threat

    to worker health and safety and to

    building occupants:

    Improper PPE

    Cross Contamination

    Hot Spots

    Improper Clean Up

    Improper Waste Disposal

  • Triumvirates Mercury

    Spill Response

    In Emergency Response situations, Self-

    Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) is used

    to determine mercury vapor levels.

    Once baseline levels are determined and the

    appropriate level of PPE is determined, a full

    mercury decontamination is performed.

  • Clean Up Standard Operating Procedure

    Every response is unique, but some basic concepts for

    mercury remediation are universal. These universal concepts

    include the following:

    Isolate the area

    Set up zones

    Remove visible mercury

    Dont cross contaminate

    Select a grid pattern for screening

    Remediate to the appropriate cleanup standards

    Properly dispose of all materials

  • Mercury Clean Up Products &


    Triumvirate utilizes multiple mercury

    cleanup products to effectively

    eliminate mercury vapor releases,


    Mercury Vacuums

    Mercury Amalgamation

    Mercury Vapor Adsorption

  • How They Work

    Mercury Vacuum

    Mercury Amalgamation Powder

    Mercury Vapor Adsorption Powder

  • Mercury Vacuum

  • Waste Disposal The most common disposal method is

    mercury retort

    Solid and liquid bearing wastes are put

    through a controlled high vacuum retort

    system that recycles mercury

    The mercury can be recycled up to

    99.99995% purity, and can be used on a

    wide variety of applications

  • Remediation Reports

    Reports include:

    Background information

    Summary of cleaning activities

    Mercury screening levels


    Recommendations and


    Disposal documentation

    Reports are provided in electronic format

  • AgendaBackground on Mercury

    Mercury Vapor Measurement & Regulations

    Mercury Spill Response

    Case Studies


  • Case Study: Mercury

    Vapor Turbines

  • Case Study: Mercury

    Vapor Turbines Demolition and removal of equipment within a

    power plant was underway

    Elemental mercury was identified on the floor,

    and subsequently identified throughout the


    The mercury was released from the mercury

    vapor turbine circulation system piping

    Initial air screening was performed in the air

    inside the area of the release, and site

    boundaries were established

  • Equipment, debris, worker clothing, tools, and

    anything in the vicinity of the release were

    assessed for visible mercury and the presence

    of mercury vapor

    Segregation of contaminated vs. clean

    materials was conducted

    Additionally, preferential migration pathways

    were assessed, contractor vehicles, waste

    containers, bags of asbestos, and stockpiled

    scrap were screened

    Case Study: Mercury

    Vapor Turbines

  • Contamination Grid

  • Clean Up Activities After equipment segregation, vacuuming of dust and

    debris was conducted and the areas screened

    Areas below the action level (0.003 mg/m3) were

    excluded from further decontamination, covered and

    secured from disturbance or entry by workers and


    Areas with elevated concentrations of mercury vapor

    were washed with mercury amalgamation powder

    Mercury vapor levels were screened and the wash

    process repeated until levels were below the action


  • Clearance Sampling & Reporting Personal air sampling pumps and sorbent tubes were

    used to collect clearance samples in accordance with the

    NIOSH 6009 method

    The sampling included a background sample and trip

    blank for quality assurance and quality control purposes

    The mercury vapor results were reviewed and found to

    be below the action level, and the area was released for

    normal occupancy

    A project summary report was provided documenting a

    detailed description of remediation activities and all

    supporting information

  • Case Study: Broken

    Sphygmomanometer Evacuate the area and limit access

    Screen for mercury vapor concentration levels

    Set up zones, including decontamination area

    Begin decontamination activities

    Obtain mercury vapor clearance level of 0.001 mg/m3 throughout the


    Collect all remediation waste for proper storage and disposal

  • Case Study: Leaking Manometer

  • Case Study: Mercury in Lab Piping

  • Case Study: Mercury in Lab Piping Remove each sink trap, collect the

    contents, and screen with a Jerome


    Traps with detections were removed

    and containerized for proper disposal

    Remaining laboratory waste piping

    was screened, and any piping with

    detections was cut and containerized

    for proper disposal

    All piping was removed until there

    were no detections on the Jerome

  • AgendaBackground on Mercury

    Mercury Vapor Measurement & Regulations

    Mercury Spill Response

    Case Studies


  • SummaryMercury devices can be removed/disposed

    before a spill happens

    Mercury remediation is costly and time consuming

    Improper cleanup can lead to worker exposure

    Triumvirate is here to help


  • Thank You For Attending!You Will Receive:

    A recording of this presentation and

    a copy of this presentation

    A link to a short survey

    An offer to help you avoid a

    mercury spill emergency

    Attend Future Events:


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