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E-M:/ Mercury/Michigan Gas Utilities



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Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>
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Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2000 16:30:52 -0500 (EST)
Bcc:
From: kelley.jeff@epa.gov
Subject: MERCURY CONTAMINATION UPDATE: EPA SENDS LETTERS TO 188 GAS 
UTILITIES URGING CLOSER LOOK

U.S. EPA REGION 5 NEWS RELEASE
------------------------------
Media Contact: Mick Hans(312) 353-5050
For Immediate Release: December 20, 2000
No. 00-OPA270

MERCURY CONTAMINATION UPDATE: EPA SENDS LETTERS TO 188
GAS UTILITIES URGING CLOSER LOOK

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 has
sent letters to 188 natural gas utility companies
encouraging them to re-examine management of their
mercury-containing equipment. Since August, at least five
natural gas companies in Illinois and Michigan have
disclosed more than 900 incidents of contamination in homes
and businesses.

EPA's letter strongly encourages natural gas companies in
the six-state Region 5 area (IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, and WI)
to take a closer look at their mercury handling practices,
particularly where older mercury-containing regulator
equipment and manometers (larger gas-flow regulators
primarily used in commercial buildings) have been or will
be replaced. Many of the contamination incidents disclosed
to EPA occurred when gas company employees or contractors
spilled mercury while replacing older equipment.
Prior to sending the letter, EPA Region 5 Superfund
management met with officers of the American Gas
Association (AGA) to discuss the issue.

Mercury, a silvery-white liquid, gives off an odorless
vapor that can damage the brain, lungs, and kidneys when
inhaled in high concentrations. Signs of mercury poisoning
include headaches, insomnia, tremors, nausea, skin rashes,
and increased blood pressure.

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