Crews vacuum mercury mess in Antioch


Hazardous materials crews have finished cleaning up a mercury spill that was discovered Monday morning on a street in Antioch, officials with Contra Costa County Health Services said Friday.

Crews found liquid mercury in seven places in the 2200 block of Manzanita Way after someone reported a silvery substance in the street at about 10:15 a.m.

It’s unlikely any anyone’s health was affected because no one was exposed to mercury for a long time, Contra Costa Health Services spokesman Seth Heller said Monday.

Workers from the county’s hazardous material team, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control searched the area for several days to find all the places where the mercury was and clean it up.

Crews bound the mercury with sulfur and vacuumed it up.

No mercury was found on any sidewalks or on any residents’ driveways.

Investigators have not said what was the source of the spill. It’s the third spill reported in the area since December, health services officials said.

It’s not illegal to have mercury, but it is illegal to get rid of it except at approved disposal sites.

In Contra Costa County, residents can drop off mercury in a container for free at the Delta Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility in Pittsburg, Central Contra Costa Sanitary District in Martinez and the West Contra Costa County Hazardous Waste Collection Facility in Richmond.

No one should touch mercury. Short-term exposure can cause nausea and vomiting, skin rashes, eye irritation and higher heart rates.

Long-term exposure can cause death or serious permanent injury.

No one reported being ill from the spill, according to health services officials.

Local, state and federal officials will be monitoring the area of the spill for the next few months.

Anyone who sees what might be mercury that is out of a container is asked to call the Contra Costa Heath Services Hazardous Materials Response Team at (925) 335-3200.

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