Cleaning up mercury

Workers form McCutcheon Enterprises are shown Tuesday evening finishing the cleaning up of the mercury, which was spilled along the sidewalk near C.G. Johnson Elementary School in Reynoldsville.

REYNOLDSVILLE — Jefferson County Director of Emergency Services Tracy Zents confirmed Wednesday that a substance spilled on a sidewalk near the C.G. Johnson Elementary School in Reynoldsville on Tuesday was mercury.

“The source of where the mercury was found was located and it has been secured,” said Zents. “The (Pennsylvania) Department of Environmental Protection will be taking it and disposing of it under proper conditions.”

There were no issues regarding the substance on Wednesday and school at C.G. Johnson opened as usual, Zents said.

On Tuesday, C.G. Johnson Elementary School students were kept inside as a precaution due to the mercury spill on a sidewalk near the school located at 923 Jackson St., Reynoldsville.

The mercury was spilled on the sidewalk behind the school on Worth Street. There were pellets of mercury found in a 75- to 100-foot area and officials were uncertain when it was spilled there.

Zents said the students were never in harm’s way.

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“Mercury is pretty stable,” he said. “However, if it gets tracked around or put into air systems or someone has cuts or respiratory issues, it can cause some issues to them. There were no students in danger from it. We kept everybody out of the area until it was taken care of.”

Crews with specialized vacuums cleaned up spots that were spilled on the sidewalk. Next, they coated the sidewalks with a special spray in case there were any remaining spots so it won’t cause any more issues.

Clean up continued into the evening Tuesday.

The investigation of the source was conducted by the Reynoldsville Borough Police Department, said Zents.

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