On March 26, 2019, two students brought two vials of mercury to their school, Chipeta Elementary in Mesa County, CO. A Mesa County school district official reported that approximately 20 milliliters of mercury were spilled (1.3 tablespoons), and that eight classrooms and the cafeteria were likely contaminated. The school was closed down and the EPA Emergency Response Unit received a request for assistance on March 28, 2019.
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An US EPA OSC and START contractor were deployed to the site to conduct an assessment. Elevated mercury levels were detected in two class rooms and a portion of the cafeteria. The school remained closed on March 29, 2019, while the school district employed a private contractor to remediate the two classrooms and the cafeteria. EPA will return to the school following the contractor remediation to ensure the school is all clear and ready to open.