No injuries in mercury spill at Salem High

SALEM – No injuries were reported after Salem High School employees called the Salem Fire Department at 9:08 a.m. Tuesday about an accidental mercury spill in the office area, inside the vault where student records are kept.

Capt. Scott Mason said school employees said a box was moved and mercury was discovered leaking from the box which contained mercury switches.

According to Mason, there was a 10-foot area where the mercury splattered on the floor tile inside the vault. He said firefighters sealed the vault until a representative of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency arrived. Kurt Kollar, the on-scene coordinator of the OEPA Division of Environmental Response and Revitalization, responded from the Twinsburg office and contained the bulk of the mercury spill. A clean up crew will have to clean up the rest, with the vault off limits until it’s done.

The levels of mercury in the vault were high, measured at about 100 parts per billion. Mason said he thought a level of 2 to 3 ppb was permitted at a school. The level just outside the vault was about 13 ppb at the time it was measured.

The building was not evacuated, but windows were opened and the area was ventilated.