Local News

School Involved In Durham Mercury Scare Reopens

Posted May 31, 2006

— A Durham elementary school at the center of a mercury-contamination case reopened Wednesday to students and staff.

Crews with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency spent several days decontaminating Oak Grove Elementary School, which tested positive for minimal levels of mercury last week.

Classes were held at alternate sites while crews cleared the contamination.

Investigators said they believe four Oak Grove students got the mercury from Carlos Guerra at Iglesia de Restauracion, a church near downtown Durham.

Health officials have determined that approximately 21 total commercial or residential sites have been identified to be assessed for environmental contamination since last week. About five sites have been cleared.

Garner police have charged Guerra, a 21-year-old air-conditioning technician, with stealing the mercury from a job site in Garner. Durham County authorities have said they do not plan on filing charges against him. They said they do not believe he knew the risks associated with exposure to the element.


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