On September 10, 2003 at the request of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Protection, an emergency response removal commenced at the Hancock High School, Hancock Co. VOTECH facility, and the Charles B. Murphy Elementary School located in Kiln, (Hancock County), Mississippi.
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This action was conducted by the USEPA and it’s ERRS contractor, Ferguson Harbor Inc., an emergency purchase order contractor, United States Environmental Services, the START contractor(s) and USCG-GST personnel. USEPA, USCG-GST and the MSDEQ have been on-scene directing the response action.
Activities conducted during this emergency action included the initial baseline monitoring of Mercury levels using a Mercury analyzer in all areas suspected of being contaminated with Mercury. The subsequent decontamination of those identified areas was accomplished by using a specialized Mercury spill control product and a specially designed Mercury vacuum system.
Three school buses were also significantly contaminated with Mercury. Decontamination of the buses required the removal of all seats and flooring. All seats were wiped cleaned and the rubber flooring discarded.
A written request was sent to the school children’s parents asking them to turn in their child’s outer garments, shoes and book bags. Those items turned in were analyzed for Mercury. If Mercury levels exceeded EPA’s action level, those items were discarded and the parents notified by EPA officials requesting access to their home for additional monitoring. No private residence exceeded EPA’s action level.
On 09/16/03, a final clean up de-briefing for Hancock County School officials was conducted by the OSC and the MSDEQ.