Mercury is highly toxic, and we need everyone’s help to keep this pollutant out of water and wastewater.
Mercury can be found in many old products and even some new ones. But the compound can cause serious health issues and damage the nervous, digestive and immune systems. This makes proper disposal essential for public health and the environment.
When it gets into the water, it accumulates in the bodies of fish. As smaller fish get eaten by larger fish or other wildlife up the food chain, the compound bioaccumulates, meaning the larger body takes on the contaminants present in its food. This is particularly problematic for individuals and groups who rely on subsistence fishing, as it makes them more vulnerable to this type of poisoning.
To protect our local streams and public health, our wastewater treatment plant is subject to very stringent limitations on the amount of mercury present in our treated effluent. This limit helps minimize the amount reaching fish, wildlife and humans.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Familiarize yourself with common mercury-containing products.
Determine whether you have any in your house and replace with less-toxic (and readily-available) alternatives. A few common places to look include:
Medicine cabinets: Thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, contact lens solution (look for thimerosal as an ingredient)
Walls: Thermostats, barometers, silent switches
Lights: Fluorescent lamps, metal halide lamps