The City of Kendallville WPCF focuses on pollution prevention and source control measures to achieve mercury reduction of our effluent.
WPCF personnel complete annual training focused on mercury issues affecting the day to day operations of the plant.
Click the following links to explore everything you need to know about mercury and how you can protect your family and the environment:
Mercury is present in many household cleaners, electronics and everyday devices. There are alternative uses for these products. When there is no alternatives, there is a safe way to handle and dispose of items containing mercury. See the following link for items containing mercury and alternatives: Is Your Home Mercury Free? Mercury Free Alternatives.
An ongoing process of identifying sources of potential mercury contamination at the WPCF and from dischargers include a complete inventory and review of all mercury bearing chemicals, equipment and storage areas.
Currently, the City of Kendallville Wastewater Treatment Plant is reaching out to local businesses, schools, and citizens in an effort to reduce the amount of mercury contaminating our environment. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has been working with wastewater treatment plants to increase awareness of potential mercury sources in our community because the U.S EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has been focusing on reducing the amount of mercury contaminating the environment. The City would appreciate the help of all businesses, industries and citizens of Kendallville to help reduce the amount of mercury reaching the sewer systems. Once mercury reaches the sewer system it becomes difficult for the operator’s to remove at the wastewater treatment plant. Mercury reduction starts with our customers so please never allow mercury to go down the drain. Please explore the site more to find helpful information on cleaning up mercury in case of a spill, information on the Northeast Indiana Solid Waste District, and activities for youth of all ages.
Mercury does perform many useful functions, but it is toxic and can impair the way we see, hear and function. With that being said, if you are handling mercury-containing products please handle them with care and recycle them when they are no longer useful. When mercury is released in the environment a percentage of it goes through a biological and chemical process that converts it to methylmercury which is a more toxic form of mercury. In humans mercury poisoning attacks the central nervous system. Women of child-bearing age and children (especially under the age of 6) are most susceptible to mercury poisoning.
Below is a list of potential sources that are most likely to encounter mercury-containing products. It is important to note that even if best management practices are followed mercury or amalgam (used in dentistry) may also linger in sewer pipes from a previous facility or business. Mercury can remain in sewer pipes for many years because it settles at low point (i.e. sump or trap) and stays there. Typically an exceedance of mercury limits at a POTW (publicly-owned treatment works) is caused by the slow dissolution of mercury that has settled in sewer pipes. Hot spots in a facility’s piping often appear where equipment maintenance areas or laboratories were located. If your facility or business move or clean a sump or trap the solid contents need to be treated as hazardous waste unless proven otherwise. The waste would need to either be tested by a laboratory before it can be disposed to the wastewater treatment plant or a hazardous waste collector can dispose of it. When handling mercury or mercury-containing products, never rinse it down the drain. Please follow the clean-up guidance for mercury spills even if it is a small amount.
In medical facilities, mercury may be found in products such as thermometers, blood pressure guages, dilation and feeding tubes, mercuric oxide batteries, CFL bulbs, thermostats, sumps, pumps and boilers that have mercury switches, old exterior or interior latex paint (EPA banned mercury interior paint in 1990 and exterior paint in 1991). It may also be found in lab stains and reagents.
Mercury can be found in a wide variety of products or chemicals in a dental office. Mercury is most commonly found in amalgam. Even if your office doesn't use amalgam any more, it could be lingering in pipes and drains from long ago. Amalgam waste can be found in different forms, including:
Dental offices can help reduce the amount of mercury in the City's sewer system by:
The EPA has taken the next step to reducing the amount of mercury contaminating the environment by adding to the Dendal Office Category Regulations (40 CFR Part 441). Your dental office is subject to the rule because you are a dental discharger (discharge dental waste into the City's municipal sewage system). There are some exceptions to the rule.
A one-time compliance report is required under the following circumstances:
Dental dischargers that practice the following specialties are not subject to the rule's requirements and do not have to submit a one-time compliance report.
Mobile units - a specialized mobile self-contained van, trailer or equipement used in providing dentistry services at multiple locations is not subject to the rule's requirements and does not need to submit a one-time compliance report.
Dental facilities that do not discharge their amalgam process wastewater into a municipal sewer system are not subject to the requirements of the rule and do not need to submit a one-time compliance report.
Your dental office is subject to the rule's requirements if you discharge to the City's municipal sewer system and your office does not comply with the exceptions listed above. The requirements of the rule are summarized below.
Compliance date for new dental dischargers (first discharge to the City's POTW occurred after July 14, 2017 is July 14, 2017). New dental dischargers subject to this rule have 90 days to complete a report after their first discharge to the POTW.
Existing dental dischargers must submit their compliance report by October 12, 2020, or 90 days after transfer of ownership.
Reports need to be submitted to Wastewater Treatment's Pretreatment Program.
Mailing Address is:
234 South Main Street
Kendallville, IN 46755
This is only a summary of the rule. Please access the rule in it's entirety online at:
PUBLIC LAW 225 - HOUSE ENROLLED ACT 1901. EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2001. Adds IC 13-20-17.5
Concerning public schools not purchasing or using certain mercury products after July 1, 2003. A public school or non-public school may not use or purchase for use in a primary or secondary classroom: (1) a mercury commodity; (2) mercury compounds; or (3) mercury-added instructional equipment and materials; except measuring devices and thermometers for which no adequate substitute exists for use in laboratories.
Mercury and mercury instruments should have been removed from schools. Every effort should be made to ensure that staff and students do not bring these items to school with them. In case mercury and mercury instruments were not removed from the school, below is a list of where it has been found.
Chemistry and biology labs: Instruments like thermometer and barometers may contain mercury. Mercuric compounds were used in chemistry experiments as well.
School nurse's station: Fever thermometers and blood pressure cuffs containing mercury were used by school nurses.
Throughout the school: Mercury-containing thermostat, fluorescent light bulbs and switches could be found in rooms throughout an older building.
Brought into school: Students or even a staff member may bring in elemental mercury not realizing the hazard it poses.
We highly suggest doing an inventory of all areas of your school - especially any classroom labs where mercury could be lingering. Please dispose of it properly and never rinse mercury or mercury containing devices down a drain!
Thermostats, switches, relays, sensors and thermometers are all commonly used items in the HVAC-R industry that may contain mercury.
Mercury could be found in hood and trunk light switches, ABS braking system switches, ride control systems, navigation displays, air bag sensors and HID headlamps. Although many automobile manufacturers by law have eliminated the use of mercury, it may still be in older model vehicles. When working on automobiles, look for tags or labels that identify mercury bearing items. We recommend replacing these switches or headlamps with a non-mercury alternative, and recycling the old mercury bearing switch or headlamp. Please be sure that employees are trained well in removing, handling and managing mercury bearing items.
Mercury bearing tilt switches may be found in the following household appliances: chest freezers, refrigerators, gas and electric stoves, washing machines, space heaters, pool heaters, commercial water heaters and camper appliances. Position-sensitive safety switches containing mercury may be found in clothes irons and space heaters.
Your business should complete a mercury assessment by doing an inventory and reviewing safety data sheets – we recommend finding mercury alternatives when it’s economically feasible. For example you can use mercury-free batteries for mercuric oxide batteries. Generators, high-intensity lamps, and manometers may contain mercury. Contact vendors or consult the user manual to find mercury content of these products. You may want to consider purchasing a mercury-free alternative.
Once mercury-containing equipment comes to its “end-of-life” phase it out with mercury-free components and be sure mercury-bearing items are recycled.
Use safe, non-mercury cleaners and degreasers in housekeeping departments, maintenance areas, and labs.
Replace mercury-containing thermostats and switches with mercury-free alternatives when replacing old equipment or remodeling.
Purchase septic tank and sump pumps that contain magnetic dry reed switches, optic sensors or mechanical switches instead of mercury tilt switches.
Please be sure that employees are trained well and equipped to remove, handle, and manage mercury bearing switches.
Even if your business or facility has followed all best management practices for mercury, it can still be found in sewer pipes. Mercury can settle at a low point such as a pump or trap and remain there for several years.
We strongly recommend using a hazardous waste collector to dispose of your mercury bearing items. If mercury bearing items are thrown away they are either sent to an incinerator or landfill. When liquid mercury is incinerated it turns into a vapor that is released into the air.
Implement a mercury-free purchasing policy.