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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England

Greater New Bedford VoTech High School Mercury Release

Aerial view of the Greater New Bedford VoTech High School, New Bedford, MA

On-scene coordinator (OSC) Kyle Brennan was dispatched to the welding shop section of the New Bedford Area VoTech High School in response to a mercury release on February 13, 2009.  Students were out of school for February vacation.  Also on scene were the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (Mass. DEP), the New Bedford Fire Department (NBFD) and Clean Harbors (CH).  EPA assistance with monitoring the extent and level of mercury contamination was requested, and the agency deployed two Superfund Technical Assessment & Response Team (START) assessment teams. 

Elemental mercury beads were observed adjacent to two roll-off dumpsters located in the loading dock area of the welding shop.  Mercury contamination may have impacted the welding, metal fabrication, automotive, collision repair, diesel tech and environmental tech classrooms as well as a daycare area located in the wing.  Next steps taken to ensure completion of removal were to heat and ventilate the affected areas, particularly the welding shop, to remove and containerize contaminated items within the shop, investigate and segregate contaminated items within the two roll-off dumpsters and reassess impacted areas for elevated levels after removal of contaminants and heating/venting cycles.

Location: New Bedford, MA
Start date: 02/13/2009
End date: 02/13/2009
Contact: Claudia Deane (deane.claudia@epa.gov)

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