SLC’s Fairmont Park pond closed due to possible mercury contamination

Sep 9, 2021, 6:50 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — Health officials are testing water from the Fairmont Park pond after an unusual sheen, indicating possible mercury contamination, was found floating in the water.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said the city is asking residents and their pets to stay out of the water as they await results. The pond, located at 1040 East Sugarmont Dr., is surrounded by caution tape and signs are posted about the potential threat throughout the park.

“Fairmont pond and stream is in no way connected to our drinking water system and it is not used to irrigate the way Liberty Park is connected to its own spring and is used to irrigate,” Mendenhall said. “We are grateful for that limitation on where this water goes.”

Mercury is highly toxic to humans and wildlife, impacting nervous, digestive and immune systems and can be fatal. Mercury can come from industrial sources and it can be airborne.

If the element is detected, Laura Briefer, director of the city’s Department of Public Utilities, said the next step would be to figure out how extensive the issue is.

“Whether it is in soil, in the sediments, those are the things we hope to determined as we work with our partners at our federal and state agencies,” Briefer said at a news conference Wednesday night.

City officials said there were a few dead ducks found in the pond but that they are trying to determine if it is related.

The city hoped to have test results from the water by Thursday.

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SLC’s Fairmont Park pond closed due to possible mercury contamination