Mercury leak detected at Jarrell Intermediate School

Emergency fire and police lights - generic / file
Emergency fire and police lights - generic / file (KXAN Photo)

JARRELL, Texas (KXAN) — Several classrooms at Jarrell Intermediate School are off limits after high levels of mercury was detected in the rooms due to a leak.

The Jarrell Independent School District says on Wednesday campus staff noticed an old barometer leaking in the school’s science lab. When the maintenance staff realized the barometer contained mercury, they contacted the Williamson County HazMat team, who helped remove the material.

“They used their scanners and we were told that all was well and we needed to air out the room overnight,” said Superintendent William Chapman in a letter to parents. But when the HazMat team came back to check on the mercury levels Thursday morning, they determined there was more mercury in the room than previously thought.

All the classrooms in that wing were checked and all were deemed clear except for one. Due to the readings, the district removed all students from that room as well as the science lab.

A remediation firm is working with the district to clear out the affected rooms.

“As we are concerned first and foremost with our student safety, we will not be using any of the rooms until given the “All Clear” by the remediation company,” continued Chapman.

Chapman says they should have a better idea Friday if all the classrooms will be cleared for use by Monday.

Cleaning Up Mercury Spills – What NEVER to Do After a Mercury Spill

  • Never use a vacuum cleaner to clean up mercury. The vacuum will put mercury into the air and increase exposure.
  • Never use a broom to clean up mercury. It will break the mercury into smaller droplets and spread them.
  • Never pour mercury down a drain. It may lodge in the plumbing and cause future problems during plumbing repairs. If discharged, it can cause pollution of the septic tank or sewage treatment plant.
  • Never walk around if your shoes might be contaminated with mercury. Contaminated clothing can also spread mercury around.

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