U.S. EPA to remediate mercury found at 6211 Applegate Lane

August 25, 2023

During their visit to Louisville last week, professionals from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified mercury immediately outside and inside the home (within the fenced area) located at 6211 Applegate Lane and have recommended a cleanup at the site. EPA’s recommendation for the property located at 6213 Applegate Lane is expected early to mid-next week.

EPA will bring resources on-site early next week to begin the cleanup operation at 6211. EPA will coordinate with Kentucky Emergency Management and the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection for on-site activities. The property remains fenced, secured and under 24-hour surveillance by Louisville Metro Police.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), mercury is a metal that is found naturally in the environment. Elemental (metallic) mercury is a shiny, silver-colored liquid that has been used to make many kinds of products, like glass thermometers, fluorescent (CFL) lamps and light bulbs, and medical and science equipment. If a product with mercury in it breaks and the mercury spills out, it can turn into poisonous vapors (fumes) that can be breathed in.

Air monitoring performed by the EPA and Louisville Metro determined the mercury concentrations inside the building are over EPA’s and CDC’s health risk levels. These elevated concentrations are limited to inside the building and do not present health risks to persons outside.

EPA performed additional surveillance of the concrete outside the home and found visible mercury beads on the driveway where the original spill happened. The mercury vapor coming from the driveway is quickly diluted to undetectable levels in the ambient air and poses no health risk to persons nearby. However, these beads can be transported off-site or back into the home on the shoes of anyone walking through the area. For this reason, the area has been cordoned off and police, fire and other city employees have been advised not to enter the area.

No mercury was found in the surrounding area or off-site. Regular air monitoring continues on-site daily and has shown no signs of health risks in the outdoor air.

Louisville Metro Public Health and Wellness (LMPHW) screened the shoes and vehicles of first responders who walked through the property last week and identified very low or no presence of mercury. The levels detected during screening do not present a health risk. Additionally, due to the amount of time that has passed, the very small amounts of mercury that may have been tracked off the property have most likely evaporated and dispersed. 

Residents who have been physically inside the fencing on the property at 6211 Applegate Lane over the past month can contact LMPHW for free mercury screening of shoes and vehicles used during their visit. Screening only takes a few seconds and will reveal if mercury was tracked from the property. Screening will take place at LMPHW’s main office located at 400 E. Gray Street, Louisville, KY 40202. Please call 502-574-6650 to schedule an appointment.

For general questions about potential health effects of mercury exposure, residents should call Kentucky Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

EPA’s cleanup is expected to last three days. A portion of Applegate Lane, adjacent to the home, will be restricted to local access only during the hours of the operation.

EPA’s recommendation for the property located at 6213 Applegate Lane is expected early to mid-next week.

For background and Frequently Asked Questions, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/emergency-services/applegate-safety.

 

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