Brookdale Community College’s chemistry wing is expected to reopen later today after a wall barometer holding 5 pounds of mercury broke in the hallway between two chemistry learning assistant’s offices.
Chemistry classrooms and learning assitants' offices were evacuated after the spill.
A chemistry learning assistant reported at 9:53 a.m. that a thermometer in the hallway between offices had broken and that there was mercury on the ground. The thermometer had allegedly broken overnight, said Brookdale Community College spokeswoman Avis McMillon.
Brookdale police responded to the call within minutes, arriving to the corridor by 9:56 a.m., McMilon said. No one was injured during the incident.
Mercury is a heavy liquid that scatters on a surface and looks for areas of depression, meaning it could seep into cracks and into the ground, explained Bud Luithle, a chemistry lab technician.
Mercury vapors can cause damage to the nervous system, Luithle said.
Middletown Fire Department Chief Andy Spears said the department used a mercury vacuum to remove the mercury and that tiles were lifted to remove mercury.
Middletown Township Police, Middletown Fire Department, Brookdale Police, Monmouth County Hazmat, Middletown Hazmat and the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management responded.