Wastewater Treatment

Mercury Pollutant Minimization Program

The City of Kendallville WPCF focuses on pollution prevention and source control measures to achieve mercury reduction of our effluent.

Staff Training
WPCF personnel complete annual training focused on mercury issues affecting the day to day operations of the plant.

Public Education
Click the following links to explore everything you need to know about mercury and how you can protect your family and the environment:

Mercury Alternatives
Mercury is present in many household cleaners, electronics and everyday devices. There are alternative uses for these products. When there is no alternatives, there is a safe way to handle and dispose of items containing mercury. See the following link for items containing mercury and alternatives: Is Your Home Mercury Free? Mercury Free Alternatives.

Mercury Minimization and Elimination
An ongoing process of identifying sources of potential mercury contamination at the WPCF and from dischargers include a complete inventory and review of all mercury bearing chemicals, equipment and storage areas.

Laws and Rules

A Note For All Business, Industries and Citizens That Use City Utilities
Currently, the City of Kendallville Wastewater Treatment Plant is reaching out to local businesses, schools, and citizens in an effort to reduce the amount of mercury contaminating our environment. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has been working with wastewater treatment plants to increase awareness of potential mercury sources in our community because the U.S EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has been focusing on reducing the amount of mercury contaminating the environment. The City would appreciate the help of all businesses, industries and citizens of Kendallville to help reduce the amount of mercury reaching the sewer systems. Once mercury reaches the sewer system it becomes difficult for the operator’s to remove at the wastewater treatment plant. Mercury reduction starts with our customers so please never allow mercury to go down the drain. Please explore the site more to find helpful information on cleaning up mercury in case of a spill, information on the Northeast Indiana Solid Waste District, and activities for youth of all ages.

Mercury does perform many useful functions, but it is toxic and can impair the way we see, hear and function. With that being said, if you are handling mercury-containing products please handle them with care and recycle them when they are no longer useful. When mercury is released in the environment a percentage of it goes through a biological and chemical process that converts it to methylmercury which is a more toxic form of mercury. In humans mercury poisoning attacks the central nervous system. Women of child-bearing age and children (especially under the age of 6) are most susceptible to mercury poisoning.

Mercury Reduction for Potential Sources and Industrial Users
Below is a list of potential sources that are most likely to encounter mercury-containing products. It is important to note that even if best management practices are followed mercury or amalgam (used in dentistry) may also linger in sewer pipes from a previous facility or business. Mercury can remain in sewer pipes for many years because it settles at low point (i.e. sump or trap) and stays there. Typically an exceedance of mercury limits at a POTW (publicly-owned treatment works) is caused by the slow dissolution of mercury that has settled in sewer pipes. Hot spots in a facility’s piping often appear where equipment maintenance areas or laboratories were located. If your facility or business move or clean a sump or trap the solid contents need to be treated as hazardous waste unless proven otherwise. The waste would need to either be tested by a laboratory before it can be disposed to the wastewater treatment plant or a hazardous waste collector can dispose of it. When handling mercury or mercury-containing products, never rinse it down the drain. Please follow the clean-up guidance for mercury spills even if it is a small amount.

Medical Facilities - Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Veterinary Facilities
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Dental Offices
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Educational Labs
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HVAC-R Contractors
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Automobile Repair Shop
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Appliance Repair Shop
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Recommendations for All Potential Sources
Your business should complete a mercury assessment by doing an inventory and reviewing safety data sheets – we recommend finding mercury alternatives when it’s economically feasible. For example you can use mercury-free batteries for mercuric oxide batteries. Generators, high-intensity lamps, and manometers may contain mercury. Contact vendors or consult the user manual to find mercury content of these products. You may want to consider purchasing a mercury-free alternative.

Once mercury-containing equipment comes to its “end-of-life” phase it out with mercury-free components and be sure mercury-bearing items are recycled.

Use safe, non-mercury cleaners and degreasers in housekeeping departments, maintenance areas, and labs.

Replace mercury-containing thermostats and switches with mercury-free alternatives when replacing old equipment or remodeling.

Purchase septic tank and sump pumps that contain magnetic dry reed switches, optic sensors or mechanical switches instead of mercury tilt switches.

Please be sure that employees are trained well and equipped to remove, handle, and manage mercury bearing switches.

Even if your business or facility has followed all best management practices for mercury, it can still be found in sewer pipes. Mercury can settle at a low point such as a pump or trap and remain there for several years.

We strongly recommend using a hazardous waste collector to dispose of your mercury bearing items. If mercury bearing items are thrown away they are either sent to an incinerator or landfill. When liquid mercury is incinerated it turns into a vapor that is released into the air.

Implement a mercury-free purchasing policy.