Mercury Spill Clean Up
In the course of running experiments today, one of my labmates happened across a small mercury spill in our instrument room. Well, we’re not 100% sure it was mercury, but the material was both liquid and metallic. Our lab just finished a massive clean up and it has taken only a week for someone to soil a common area with a nasty chemical THEN SIMPLY WALK AWAY. I really hate some of the people here—I just wish I knew who.
Director’s Note: These videos are long and not particularly instructive or entertaining.
- Uncle Al Says:
May 28th, 2007 at 10:45 am Suck up the big pieces (no vacuum cleaner! LETHAL!). Sprinkle zinc dust to amalgamate the small stuff. Next day sweep that up. Sprinkle flowers of sulfur. Next day sweep that up.
Declare building to be a chemical waste dump. Disassemble within a mammoth plastic bag. Store debris in giant steel surplus shipping containers. Fill ullage with concrete. Use as foundation leggings for the next dorm.
Raise tuition to pay for it and endow a Department of Eco-Feminist Reclamation Technologies.
- excimer Says:
May 28th, 2007 at 11:25 am For once, I actually like Uncle Al’s idea.
Step 1: Dismantle chemistry building and decades’ worth of filth and unimaginable toxicity.
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit
- ZAL Says:
May 28th, 2007 at 12:28 pm When it happened to me I did the “flowers of sulfur” trick and it worked very well. I did not try to dismantle the chemistry building then, though.
- Paul Says:
May 28th, 2007 at 1:10 pm With the amount of fiberous dust that pours out of the air vents here, dismantling the building would actually be a good idea. I’m convinced we’re all eventually going to get lung cancer.
- joel Says:
May 28th, 2007 at 9:00 pm If it isn’t mercury it could be indium gallium eutectic. If you wipe it with a paper towel and it smears on the countertop, that’s what it is. *Dispose of the paper towel correctly of course* The culprit is may be someone making devices, since I know your lab has used Hg electrodes and InGa in the past. Unless some dumb slob just broke a thermometer.
- Hap Says:
May 29th, 2007 at 3:03 pm I can understand why no one said anything or tried to clean the mess – because mercury vapor wouldn’t have any effect on anyone’s measurements…
Indium-gallium would probably not be as bad, but there is also less reason not to have cleaned it up in the first place.
If it weren’t wrong in lots of ways, I’d be tempted to wire the common rooms with hidden webcams. (Smile, dumbass, you’re on Candid Camera.) Knowing that being an idiot might get you a starring role on a bad TV show viewed by your labmates and boss might lead the guilty parties to reconsider their behavior in common areas.
I’m kind of hoping that the lung cancer part doesn’t come true though – I didn’t even do anything cool or smoke a lot, so getting it would be a lot of cost for nothing. Oh well.