Mercury Minimization / Sump Pumps, Septic Tanks & Rubber Floors

Description: Sump Pumps and Septic tanks often contain float control switches to turn the equipment on and off when water is at a certain level.

How to Identify: A mercury float switch is usually present and visible in the septic tank.

Alternative Devices: Alternatives to mercury float control switches include magnetic dry reed switches, optic sensors, or mechanical switches. Most new float switches are made without mercury.

How to Locate the Device: The mercury is usually located in the bulb of the float. The float consists of a hollow cylinder or sphere with an integral mercury or microswitch.

Safe Removal: Remove the bulb from the liquid release apparatus carefully so not to expose yourself nor the environment to the mercury.

Safe Disposal:


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Rubber Floors

Description: 3M Brand Tartan Track, or Flooring installed during the early 1970s contained a mercury catalyst and was installed in gymnasiums during the 1970s. Other rubber tracks or sports surfaces used in gyms may have contained mercury as well.

Safe Disposal: The mercury content of this flooring varies, as does the amount of degradation that has occurred over time, and therefore the extent to which mercury can be leached from the flooring. In some cases, this flooring must be treated as hazardous waste because it will fail the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure. The 3M Corporation recommends that even if the flooring is not characterized as a hazardous waste, that it be disposed of in a landfill that is lined to prevent leaching rather than in just any hazardous landfill. 3M will not provide assistance in removal or disposal, but can provide a list of vendors that can remove the flooring, and dispose of it properly. To obtain assistance, send approximately 5 pounds of track surface cut into 1 pound or smaller pieces to:

Mr. Brent Bystrom
Bldg 42-2E-27
St. Paul, MN 55106