On 2/27/2013 there was a mercury spill in storage closet at Big Piney High School; investigation and mitigation efforts were performed into the evening in conjunction with Sublette County Emergency Management, Region #4 Response Team, Big Piney/Marbleton Fire, Sublette County Public Health/EMS representatives and phone consultation with Environmental Protection Agency on-scene coordinators.
The mercury spill was contained and secured at that time. In a joint evaluation, on-site at the High School, with the EPA’s on-scene coordinator, it was determined that the best course of action was to evacuate the school at 09:00am this morning. In consultation with a CDC physician there is no expectation of health risks based on monitored levels of mercury vapor recorded in the building to that point. Levels of mercury vapor were determined to have spread through the school and it became prudent to make sure no further exposure would take place to protect the health of students and staff and facilitate further clean-up efforts.
Big Piney High School will be closed until further notice and it is deemed safe for use. Expectations are that it will remain closed at least through the weekend and there will be no classes for students in 9th through 12th grades; all other schools in the District will operate as normal. Again there is no threat to any person who has spent time within the school between 2/27/13 and 2/28/13 or to any residence of the surrounding area. Mitigation and cleaning efforts will continue with guidance from county agencies as well as experts from the EPA and CDC. Health concern questions regarding this exposure can be directed to Sublette County Public Health at (307)276-3575.
As a precautionary step, Sublette County School District #9 has secured all other sources of mercury in its schools and will be turning it over to the EPA for disposal. In the event that the High School building is unavailable Monday, March 4th the District is developing a contingency plan to provide for High School students classroom space for that day. Additional communication regarding this incident, school closure and High school class location on 3/4/2013 will be available via the school district’s website.