VIDEO: Hazmat crews still working to find cause of mercury spill in Antioch neighborhood


ANTIOCH (KRON) — Hazmat crews are still working to determine what caused a mercury spill in an Antioch neighborhood.

When the liquid metal was discovered on Manzanita Way near Sycamore Drive in Antioch, reports say this is the third time crews have had to respond to a mercury spill in this neighborhood in only four months.

Some of the areas are roped off with yellow tape.

The Environmental Protection Agency says they’ve narrowed the spill down to six locations on this street.

Scientists and hazmat crews were out here until 3 a.m. Tuesday and back out again using special air sensors to test for mercury on the ground and vacuuming up the liquid metal, which often looks very similar to broken glass.

That same sensor was used on all the sidewalks and pathways to the homes and crews made sure that those are clear because they don’t want people to track the substance into their homes.

No mercury was detected outside the roped-off areas, which is why there were no evacuations and no injuries reported.

At this point, they don’t know exactly how much mercury was spilled or how it got there.

“Older pieces of medical equipment, anything that was a heat sensitive kind of switch can have mercury in it and sometimes it can have a lot of mercury in it,” EPA Superfund Project Manager/Communications Liaison Rusty Harris-Bishop said. “And if you threw it away and didn’t know that it had mercury, it didn’t have anything to indicate it. You throw it in the garbage, it could break and leak that way.”

Residents who live in the area say they are worried especially about the children in the area.

After this work is done, crews will be handing out information educating the public about what kind of things contain mercury and letting them know how they can dispose of household hazardous household waste items for free.

There were two other much smaller mercury spills back in December and January, just one street over, but it’s unclear if those are connected to this one.

One possibility is that these incidents could be related to illegal dumping, which is a common problem in Antioch.

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