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Projects Database

Mercury Reduction Through Treatment Chemical Selection

Project Information

Award Amount:$35,000.00
Dollars Leveraged:$1,750.00
Start-End Dates:10/1/95-6/30/98
Description:Summary: The purpose of this project is to reduce mercury that may be reaching Lake Superior through cooling water and effluents from power plants, boilers and other facilities. Cooling water is treated with pH altering chemicals, such as acid and caustic soda. Certain feedstock chemicals used to alter the pH have been found to contain high levels of mercury. For example, sulfuric acid produced as a by-product from a lead smelter was found to have significantly higher levels of mercury than sulfuric acid from a copper smelter. The project strategy is to promote the switch from high mercury to low mercury chemical feedstocks.

Environmental Results/Products: MPCA compiled a list of the boilers in the four Minnesota counties bordering Lake Superior. A survey for boiler operators was distributed at a State-sponsored boiler workshop. Only 10 operators filled out the survey, but those that did indicate that they would be willing to switch to non-mercury caustic if the price was the same. A few operators indicated they would be willing to pay more. MPCA collected information on mercury concentrations in various grades of caustic soda from, a chemical supplier and a chlor-alkali producer and the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD). Up-to-date cost information is needed.

MPCA will be working with boiler operators on solid waste management issues. Some boilers use high pressure steam gauges that contain large amounts of mercury. For example, one steam gauge collected during a WLSSD mercury amnesty project contained 30 pounds of mercury. Some boilers may also contain mercury switches.


There are no reports associated with this project.

Funding Organizations

Below is a list of organizations with individual contacts that are funding this project.

U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program Office - Primary Contact

77 W Jackson Blvd
Chicago, Illinois 60604
There are no individuals in this organization
associated with this project.

Organizations Receiving Funding

Below is a list of organizations with individual contacts that are receiving funding for this project.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency - Primary Contact

520 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155-4194
p: 651-296-6300
Individual Contacts

Associated Organizations

Below is a list of associated organizations that are NOT giving or receiving funding for this project.

Western Lake Superior Sanitary District - Partner

2626 Courtland Stree
Duluth, Minnesota 55806
p: 218-722-3336

GLRPPR is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange, a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WSPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest).


One East Hazelwood Drive; Champaign, IL; 61820; (800) 407-0261;