Mercury clean up costs detailed (updated)

Posted by Jeremy Shulkin

With all the hubbub surrounding the then-upcoming elections, we missed this tidbit of information put out by the Worcester Public Schools which detailed the cost of cleaning up the Grafton Street School mercury spill. (H/t school committee member Tracy Novick’s blog.)

The total cost of the clean up was $44,946.26, and the WPS breaks it down further:

Environmental cleanup – $25,030.65
Environmental air quality testing – $11,118.00
Worcester Police paid detail – $3,038.80
Facilities department overtime costs – $1,946.47
Student transportation – $1,858.98
Environmental site assessment – $1,547.50
Facilities contracted services – $405.86

The school district contends that the cost could have been much higher, but the DEP and EPA covered the expense of disposing the mercury and any remaining contaminated items. The WPS also says they’ve found one-time money within the budget to cover costs.

For anyone who’s still curious about where the mercury came from, well, we still don’t have an answer. But there’s a line towards the end of the WPS report that reveals investigations are ongoing: “The Worcester Public Schools will remain in contact with the state and federal agencies to determine if any of these costs may be recouped through any legal proceedings that may result from the state and federal investigation on this matter.”

Update: The Telegram has more in an article posted online today:

There were “communication breaches” of emergency procedures after the mercury spill at Grafton Street School was reported to central administration Sept. 21, Superintendent Melinda J. Boone writes in an Oct. 29 report to School Committee members.

Those breaches affected both the school district and outside agency response, she wrote, and the full response didn’t come until the following day.

…In an interview last night, Ms. Boone declined to say who or what office at central administration received the report of the mercury.

On a separate but related note, Worcester Public Health Commissioner Dr. Leonard Morse was profiled in the Boston Globe today. He mentions the mercury spill towards the end of the article. (H/t wstr.)

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1 Comment

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One response to “Mercury clean up costs detailed (updated)

  1. OK. How much do I love that you used a clip from DC Comics’ old “Metal Men” comic here?

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