Fairmont Park pond reopens after mercury not detected in the water

Sep 13, 2021, 8:16 PM
Fairmont Park pond. (KSL TV)...
Fairmont Park pond. (KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Fairmont Park pond in Salt Lake City has reopened to the public after additional testing found no evidence of mercury in the water.

Tests were completed over the last few days by the city and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).

“Our investigation is complete, having determined an absence of mercury contamination in the pond, waterways and sediments,” said Valeriy Bizyayev, on-ccene coordinator for U.S. EPA Region VII Emergency Response. “All findings are available on our response website for the public to view.”

According to a press release from Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s Office, the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities (SLCDPU) began investigating the incident after an oily sheen was discovered on the pond’s surface on Friday, August 20.

A private contractor was then brought in to remove the sheen.

“Samples taken from the tank where sheen and water were placed after removal had a positive analytical result for mercury,” read the press release.

That’s when the USEPA was called out to lead an investigation.

On Sept. 9, city officials made the decision to close the pond.

It reopened to the public Monday after tests results showed the pond was safe.

“SLCDPU is continuing efforts to determine possible reasons for the initial detection of mercury. The sheen on the pond is suspected to be related to mineral oil from a former transformer at a nearby construction site. Mineral oil does not contain mercury. SLCDPU Director Laura Briefer said the remaining thin sheen should dissipate with time and future rains,” read the press release from Mendenhall’s Office.

City officials recommended the public not eat fish from the pond until tests are conducted with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to determine if the fish are free from mercury.

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Fairmont Park pond reopens after mercury not detected in the water