In the afternoon of 23 November 2015, EPA was notified by the Idaho State Communications of an elemental mercury spill of approximately two (2) ounces at a private school in Post Falls, Idaho. Upon an initial assessment conducted by the local fire department, using a Lumex mercury vapor air monitoring instrument, several areas of the school campus buildings were confirmed to be contaminated from the spill.
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By the morning of 24 November 2015, it was reported that a number of students had either contaminated clothing from exposure at school and/or took some of the elemental mercury to their homes. With the assistance of the Panhandle Health District it was determined that approximately sixteen (16) students may have been exposed in this incident. Simultaneous to the search for students, officials with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) worked with school officials to secure a cleanup contractor, but EPA was requested to provide assistance due to the complexity of the incident and potential public health impacts to the students.