Additional testing shows no mercury in Fairmont Park Pond

Sep 11, 2021, 8:29 PM
Fairmont Park pond. (KSL TV)...
Fairmont Park pond. (KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — Additional testing has found no evidence of mercury contamination in the Fairmont Park Pond in Salt Lake City, according to city officials.

Mayor Erin Mendenhall made the announcement Saturday afternoon.

The update was provided after the city conducted an additional round of testing and the Environmental Protection Agency completed their first round of comprehensive testing.

Mendenhall said nearby residents were alerted Wednesday evening about the potential presence of mercury in the water, adding that that was done out of an “abundance of caution, with the public safety in mind.”

Valeriy Bizyayev, federal on scene coordinator for the EPA, said his team sampled throughout the park, both upstream and downstream of the pond.

“One of the first things that we did when we arrived on scene was we went through with an instrument to look for mercury vapors. That’s usually the source of contamination,” he said. “We went through and we didn’t really see much.”

Bizyayev went on to say there was a slightly elevated measurement near the tank, but it was far below the levels they would be concerned about.

An additional round of samples were taken by the EPA and sent to the labs Saturday.

Salt Lake City Director of Public Utilities Laura Briefer said her department, as well as the city, will be investigating the cause of the initial detection of mercury in the pond’s wastewater tank.

She said they would also be undertaking “comprehensive flushing of the pond system” on Monday.

“There still is a little bit of a sheen on the water and we’re not quite sure where that sheen has emanated from,” said Briefer. “It’s very thin, very light. It was very hard to partition the sheen to take any kind of samples. We don’t think it’s any kind of petroleum or other chemical product. What we think it is is maybe mineral oil or cooking oil.”

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Additional testing shows no mercury in Fairmont Park Pond