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Stryker Building Mercury Screening Complete

Release Date: 3/28/2005
Contact Information: David Sternberg, 215-814-5548

David Sternberg, 215-814-5548

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Virginia Department
of Environmental Quality, Virginia Department of Emergency Management and, Virginia Department of Health, agree the City of Williamsburg’s Stryker Building which houses city council chambers no longer has unsafe levels of mercury.

EPA was called to the scene after mercury was discovered in council chambers by a city employee March 7. EPA contractors performed visual and vapor analysis of the chamber. Visible mercury was observed on carpets and desk chairs and mercury vapors were measured to be at levels of concern using a Lumex mercury vapor analyzer.
EPA contractors wrapped the impacted chairs with polypropeline sheeting and removed them from the building for disposal. The carpets were vacuumed three times before being taken up and removed from the building.

The wood floor was then treated with a material to absorb any mercury and then vacuumed. Three coats of polyurethane were then applied to the floor to seal it. Though these steps were successful, after consultation with technical assistants, EPA’s on-scene coordinators decided to remove the plywood floor, in the possible event that there was mercury trapped under the flooring.

A Lumex mercury vapor analyzer was then used to test the air in the council chambers. All air sampling data results showed mercury levels well below the action level of one microgram per cubic meter. In addition, eight-hour samples taken March 10 confirmed that the council chambers is no longer contaminated.

As a precaution, EPA also performed sampling in other areas of the building. On March 17, eight-hour air samples were taken in three areas - the main lobby, the voter registration room, and the stairwell between the first and second floors. These longer tests were taken because these areas registered values slightly over the cleanup level of 1 microgram per cubic meter in earlier testing. The longer tests confirmed that mercury levels are now well below the action level and do not pose a threat to human health.