Skip to main content

Crews are cleaning up a mercury spill in New Ulm

Mercury is a liquid metal and it's toxic.

A Public Safety Department and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are cleaning up a mercury spill that was reported Tuesday northwest of Mankato. It's at the 100 block of North Garden Street in New Ulm.

According to a news release, an area waste hauler noticed the spill in a dumpster and reported it.

It is believed that the property owner there removed about two gallons of the element from their garage and put it in the trash – which is not how you're suppose to dispose of the stuff. Then about a gallon spilled out into the dumpster.

Now the mercury is in the dumpster, alley and garbage truck.

Since it's a hazardous material, crews have to use special equipment to clean up and dispose of it.

What is mercury?

Mercury is an element (it's Hg if you're into the periodic table).

According to LiveScience, Hg comes from the Greek word hydrargyrum, which mens "liquid silver." Which is pretty much what it looks like. It's a silvery liquid metal at room temperature.

You can find it in thermometers, some dental fillings, fluorescent light bulbs, and even found in some fish.

What's so bad about it?

Well, mercury is toxic.

LiveScience says it can get into your system via open wounds or ingesting it. And if the element evaporates into a gas, you can inhale it.

Too much exposure can give you mercury poisoning, which affects your nervous system and some organs.

Because it's so toxic, you're not supposed to dispose of mercury in the trash. The Pollution Control Agency recommends calling your county's solid waste officer to see what you should do with your hazardous waste.

The MPCA sees about 10 mercury spills a year. If you ever suspect a mercury spill (or any other potentially hazardous material) call the Minnesota Duty Officer at 800-422-0798.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 11.43.15 AM

Deputies fatally shoot man in Wright County

Police claim the man, who had allegedly been experiencing a mental health crisis, was armed with a knife.

Ambulance hospital emergency

17-year-old killed in northern Minnesota crash Saturday

The other drive involved in the crash, a 75-year-old man, sustained life-threatening injuries.


Alcohol a factor as driver rolls ATV into corn field, injuring 3

The crash occurred in Lake Lillian Saturday night.

Minneapolis police

Man dies after being found shot at Minneapolis' 38th and Chicago

Responders were called to the scene early Sunday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 6.34.12 AM

7 children arrested after 'disturbance' at Cabela's, escape in stolen vehicle

Employees called police saying the children were stealing goods from the store.

Screen Shot 2022-08-06 at 6.16.49 PM

Fire sparks evacuation from apartment building, man arrested for arson

Police and fire crews responded to the fire just before 9 a.m. Saturday.

Flickr - utility pole power line

Morning storms cause power outages, ensuing problems in Eagan

There have been reports of disabled traffic lights and issues at local businesses.

kim crockett facebook sos

GOP nominee questions if those with disabilities, non-English speakers should be able to vote

Crockett made the comments in a 2020 radio interview following a ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court.


Jury: MN pharmacist did not violate woman's rights by refusing her morning-after pill

Gender Justice, the advocacy group that brought about the lawsuit, says it will appeal the decision.

Screen Shot 2021-10-04 at 3.03.13 PM

Revival to close its original Minneapolis restaurant

Don't worry – it's bringing the chicken to its nearby BBQ joint.


St. Cloud Hospital recognized as one of the best for heart surgery

It was listed one of the best hospitals for coronary artery bypass surgery and aortic valve replacement surgery.

From strokes to depression – here's what 'springing forward' does to your body

Daylight saving time begins Sunday at 2 a.m., so you'll essentially be losing an hour of sleep.

State Health Officials: Get your shots, the flu is spreading in MN

Flu season can last through April, so it's not too late to get vaccinated.

A Minnesota city is trying to raise the tobacco age to 21

It would be the first community in the state to have such a law.

A look inside Mayo Clinic's gigantic colon – it's for cancer awareness

About 4.4 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with colon and rectum cancer at some point during their lifetime.