University Safety and Assurances

Mercury Spill Clean-up Procedures


Mercury Spill Cleanup
PowerPoint Presentation on Mercury Spill Clean-Up Procedures


Mercury (Hg) is defined as a hazardous material by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Moreover, mercury is a toxic substance that can result in severe health effects. Therefore, all mercury "spills," including droplets of mercury from a broken laboratory thermometer, need to be cleaned up following safe and environmentally sound procedures.

Questions regarding mercury or spill procedures should be directed to your professor, a laboratory supervisor, your own supervisor or the UWM Department of University Safety & Assurances (US&A). Starting in January 2002, departments have to pay for cleanup of mercury in one of three ways:

  • Call US&A for list of outside contractors
  • Pay US&A a flat fee of $50 for cleanup services
  • Have the person who spilled the mercury learn how to use the campus mercury vacuum and have them clean up the spill. The Department of University Safety & Assurances will provide, at no charge, mercury air-monitoring, advice and support.

The following video clip (courtesy of Minuteman International, Inc., Addison, IL) shows how to replace the HEPA filter bag in the mercury vacuum: Mercury Vacuum HEPA Filter Bag Replacement Instructions

For further information on mercury spills on campus, please contact Environmental Affairs at x4999 or x2883.

Information on Household Spill Clean Up: