Orchard Street Mercury

Boise, ID - Region X

 

Site Contact:

Richard Franklin / Stephen Ball
On-Scene Coordinators

franklin.richard@epa.gov

919 N. Orchard Street
Boise, ID 83706
response.epa.gov/orchardstreetmercury

Latitude: 43.6131960
Longitude: -116.2403700

On December 17, 2018, a private citizen was transferring a box of household items with at least 2 small jars of elemental mercury from her car (SUV) to a local pawn shop in Boise Idaho, when she dropped the box onto the parking lot, breaking one of the containers of mercury and spilling it inside the box, onto the pavement, and onto herself and her car. She transferred the box with the leaking mercury into the backseat and then the hatchback floor of her car, spilling the mercury widely throughout the car including front driver's seat and floor, back seats and floor, hatchback floor and onto household items in the car. The Boise Fire/Hazmat Team responded and took control of the scene, and decontaminated the citizen.

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) and an EPA On-Scene Coordinator also mobilized to the incident and entered Unified Command with Boise Fire/Hazmat. EPA conducted air monitoring and an assessment of the scene, and found that mercury was found to have contaminated the parking lot, most of the household items still inside the car, car tires, and most of the interior of the car. All contaminated areas were found to be well above Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) health risk levels for mercury. Multiple removal actions were not able to lower most mercury vapor levels of household items and the car below risk levels. A removal of many of the household items and the car itself was conducted to prevent further release of mercury into the environment and for protection of public health.