July 30, 2014

Elyria
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Safety crews scout house contaminated by mercury

CARLISLE TWP. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made its first trip Friday inside a Butternut Ridge Road home contaminated by mercury.

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CHUCK HUMEL / CHRONICLE
Decontamination workers prepare to enter a Carlisle Township house that has been contaminated by mercury.

James Boddy, director of environmental health for the Lorain County General Health District, said the family was cooperative in letting a federal response team into the home, and that the next step will be isolating the liquid mercury in the basement of the house and removing it.

Ohio EPA emergency response officials were shocked when they first entered the home Wednesday and found a couple pounds of mercury spilled on the floor of the basement.

Boddy said even small amounts of mercury pose a potential health threat.

A family of six had moved into the home about a year ago after the death of their grandfather. It was about that time that the mercury was spilled, family members told county health officials.

County tax records show the home is owned by Barney and Connilinn Spooner, but none of the agencies involved will confirm the residents’ names.

Boddy said the family submitted urine samples Thursday to be tested for mercury poisoning. The results won’t be available for a few days.

Once the mercury is removed from the home, the home will be “aired out,” Boddy said, and then retested. He said it is too early to say when the family would be allowed to return.

Contact Stephen Szucs at 329-7129 or sszucs@chroniclet.com.