SGR Restored a Laboratory After Mercury Contamination

Steamatic Global Recovery Restored a Laboratory After Mercury Contamination

During renovation works at a laboratory in Port Melbourne, a large thermometer was accidentally damaged, resulting in a significant mercury spill. Despite initial cleanup efforts by staff, subsequent testing revealed ongoing contamination, prompting the engagement of Steamatic to manage the decontamination process.

The Challenge:

Mercury contamination poses serious health and safety risks, necessitating meticulous cleanup procedures and adherence to strict protocols. The spill occurred in multiple areas, including the worksite and transit areas used by staff during the initial cleanup. Ensuring thorough decontamination without further spread was paramount, especially considering the involvement of a waste skip from ongoing renovations.

The Solution:

Upon assessment and in consultation with a hygienist, a comprehensive decontamination plan was devised. The approach included:

  • Mercury Collection: Capturing visible mercury and sealing it in airtight containers to prevent further dispersion.
  • Solidification: Application of sulphur powder to solidify any remaining liquid mercury, focusing on room corners and concrete floor crevices.
  • Decontamination Procedure: Application of a sulphur solution across the affected areas, followed by multiple rounds of wet vacuuming to remove residual mercury.

The Outcome:

The implemented solution ensured thorough decontamination of the affected areas and materials. All collected mercury, contaminated PPE, air scrubber filters, and wastewater were safely disposed of as hazardous waste, adhering to environmental and health regulations. By effectively managing the cleanup process, Steamatic mitigated potential health risks to laboratory staff and ensured the restoration of a safe working environment.

This case highlights the critical importance of prompt and professional response to hazardous material spills in laboratory settings, safeguarding both personnel and environmental health.

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