4 pounds of mercury found on side of road

John Richmeier

About four pounds of mercury was discovered in a container that was left near the side of a road in southern Leavenworth County, the Emergency Management director said.

It does not appear any of the substance leaked onto the ground.

The mercury, which is considered a hazardous substance, was discovered around noon Tuesday along the side of County Road 1 near the entrance for the Kansas Turnpike, said Leavenworth County Emergency Management Director Chuck Magaha.

He said a motorist noticed the cardboard box containing the mercury while on his way to Topeka. When he returned to Leavenworth County, the box was still along the side of the road. The motorist stopped to collect the box.

The motorist took the box to his home, which is located on 179th Street, and contacted authorities.

Magaha said the mercury was contained inside a large peanut butter jar inside the box. Magaha does not believe any of the substance had leaked.

With the help of firefighters from Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1, Magaha repacked the mercury. In fact, Magaha said he overpacked it.

He said the package has been placed in a secure location until the Kansas Department of Health and Environment can help him get rid of it.

Magaha said he does not know who left the container of mercury on the side of the road. But he said it appeared to have been packaged by someone who understood what the substance was.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR