East Lansing Water Plant Hides Mercury Spill - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

East Lansing Water Plant Hides Mercury Spill

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A mercury spill at East Lansing's Water Waste Treatment Plant went unreported for nearly four months, now city officials are asking why.

Kidney effects, respiratory failure and, yes, even death are just a few symptoms one may experience after exposure to mercury.

That's why when city officials in East Lansing found out about a mercury spill that happened back in November, they immediately called for an investigation.

"We were not informed of this until just yesterday," said East Lansing Public Works Director Todd Seathen, "[The Ingham County Health Department] should've been contacted immediately."

Seathen says officials at the Water Waste Treatment Plant failed to report the spill after mercury leaked from a small device used to track pressure inside the plant.

"I'm not sure and that's actually what were trying to get a better handle on what the situation was," said Seathen when asked why officials at the plant never reported the spill.

The Ingham County Health Department only found out about the November mercury leak after employees at the plant called it in this week.

"We responded to the sight immediately. Any mercury that we visibly did see, we cleaned up," said Christine Hendricks with the Emergency Response team at the Ingham County Health Department.

Hendricks says inspectors found traces of mercury, but not at dangerous levels.

When asked if the mercury levels were dangerous when the original spill happened in November, Hendricks responded, "That I can't speak to."

She says the health department wants to take no chances with worker safety.

"We have advised them to heat and vent the facility over the weekend," Hendricks said.

In the meantime the city will continue to investigate. They haven't ruled out disciplinary action against officials at the plant.


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