LaFayette High School Mercury Release

LaFayette, GA - Region IV


Site Contact:

Karen Buerki

5178 Round Pound Road
LaFayette, GA 30728

Latitude: 34.7200781
Longitude: -85.2578307
NRC#: 959728

A mercury spill occurred at LaFayette High School in Lafayette, Walker County, Georgia around 10/20/2010 when a student stole mercury the school’s science lab.  The mercury was passed between 3-4 students and was carried between the school and the students’ home(s).  School staff utilized zinc and sulfur compounds to address the spill; however, on 11/11/2010, staff discovered mercury beads in an unattached mobile classroom.  EPA ERRB was notified of the incident on 11/12/2010 and mobilized OSC Huyser to respond.  Upon arrival, OSC Huyser and Walker County School staff measured the bottoms of the shoes of approximately 115 students and approximately 95 staff (eight pairs of shoes were isolated for further screening; three of which yielded very high mercury vapor levels).  On 11/12/2010 and 11/13/2010, EPA and START screened approximately 19 suspect rooms in the school (three exceeded residential limits). Walker County Schools will continue to isolate the impacted rooms and have hired an environmental contractor to conduct the remediation at the school beginning after 11/19/2010 when the school will be vacated for 9 days over Thanksgiving week.  EPA mobilized ERRS to begin remediation of the single impacted residential home.  ATSDR has been notified and will mobilize a responder to provide consultation, in coordination with Walker County Schools, to concerned parents.

For additional information, visit the Pollution/Situation Report (Pol/Sitreps) section.