Mercury will be collected at the Durant Fire Department through May 10, according to Durant/Bryan County Emergency Management Director James Dalton.
Tony Winnett, 55, died last month after being hospitalized for mercury poisoning. According to authorities, Winnett and Melissa Lake inhaled mercury fumes after heating it to extract gold from computer parts. Lake was treated for respiratory problems and released. The home was deemed unlivable due to the contamination, according to Dalton.
Environmental officials decided to hold a mercury recycling program in Durant because of that incident. The chemical was once commonly used in household thermometers. Some people have the substance but do not know what to do with it.
“The mindset is that if one person has it, there are probably other folks who have it as well,” Dalton said.
Two people turned in mercury Wednesday and this morning, a man brought a small bottle of it that he found inside a tool box that he had purchased.
Those who have mercury should seal it inside two plastic bags before bringing it to the fire department.
“Don’t bring it in the building,” Dalton said. “Leave it in your vehicle and come inside and ask a firefighter to come and get it.”
The Environmental Protection Agency will pick up the mercury for recycling.