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Projects Database

Mercury-Free Zone Program

Project Information

Award Amount:$60,000.00
Dollars Leveraged:$0.00
Start-End Dates:10/1/00-9/30/03
As a result of a successful pilot program conducted from November 200 to February 2001 in Minnesota, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) launched the Mercury Free Zone program, a very comprehensive statewide mercury reduction initiative in 2001.

The Mercury-Free Zone program promotes the removal of mercury from schools and other facilities in Minnesota, and a demonstration to school classes of how a dog, Clancy, can detect mercury vapor and how students can help solve the mercury pollution problem.

The comprehensive program requires participating schools to sign a mercury-free pledge, inventory their school for mercury, remove and replace “high” risk mercury items (e.g., thermometers, barometers, bulk mercury, blood pressure cuffs) educate their students and facility about the dangers of mercury, and as schedules permit, allow the assessment team (MPCA staff, Clancy the mercury detecting dog, and the Lumex unit) to come in and assess the school for mercury contamination. In addition to on-site assistance, the Mercury-Free Zone program provides each participating school with about $300 worth of replacement equipment and helps coordinate the disposal of mercury waste.

The objectives of this project were to:

• Permanently remove mercury from Minnesota schools;
• Assess Minnesota schools for mercury contamination and remediate; and
• Educate students, school staff and the general public about the mercury pollution problem and offer some solutions.

Environmental Results/Products:

• 650 pounds of mercury have been permanently removed from 250 participating Minnesota schools at a cost of $500 per pound.
• 104 schools were assessed for mercury contamination.
• Assessment team members located mercury spills in 35 schools
• Presentations about mercury were made to 10,000 Minnesota students and school staff.
• 9,418 students and others were educated about the hazards of mercury and the olfactory prowess of dogs to detect mercury.
• Information about the program and the dangers associated with mercury was distributed through media sources which reached approximately 60 million people.
▸ 60 articles appeared in Minnesota newspapers.
▸ 5 announcements on radio stations
▸ National Geographic reported on the program twice.


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

525 S. Lake Avenue
Suite 400
Duluth, Minnesota 55802
p: 218/723-2358
f: 218/723-4727
Individual Contacts
  • Christopher Butler

Associated Organizations

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

City of St. Paul Police Department - Canine Unit - Partner

St. Paul, Minnesota

Hennepin County, Minnesota - Partner

Hennepin County Government Center
300 South Sixth Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55487

Institute for a Sustainable Future - Partner

32 E. 1st St.
Suite 206
Duluth, Minnesota 55802
p: 218-525-7806

McLeod County, Minnesota - Partner

830 E 11th Street
Glencoe, Minnesota 55336
p: 320-864-5551
f: 320-864-3410

Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance (MOEA) - Partner

520 Lafayette Rd, North
Floor 2
St Paul, Minnesota 55155-4100
p: 651-296-3417

Minnesota Science Teacher’s Association - Partner

Hamline University MS-A1760
1536 Hewitt Ave.
St. Paul, Minnesota 55104
p: 651.523.2945
f: 651.523.3041

Ramsey County, Minnesota - Partner

1670 Beam Avenue, Suite A
Maplewood, Minnesota 55109-1176
p: 651-773-4466
f: 651-773-4454

Washington County, Minnesota - Partner

14949 62nd Street North
PO Box 6
Stillwater, Minnesota 55082-0006
p: 651-430-6000

Western Lake Superior Sanitary District - Partner

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

Xcel Energy (Northern States Power) - Partner

414 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401-1993
p: 800-481-4700


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