Water Watchdog Report

What: Litter
Where: Bennington Tributary, Silver Spring
When: 2014-05-13 at 8:00 PM
Reported By: Anne Vorce
Additional Details:

As reported previously, Tuesday, May 13 around 8pm. a guy driving a very nice convertible threw with an expert flourish a large fluorescent light bulb tube into the Bennington Tributary area. The tube broke on the creek’s bank. Presumably mercury vapors were released at the time. There are several pieces of broken glass now on the bank.

Steve Martin of DEP and Henry Coppola of Parks have responded to my pollution report via the Water WatchDog email [email protected] They both thought that the mercury risk had past. Henry stated his understanding “that most fluorescent bulbs contain between 2-5 milligrams of mercury and that nearly all of that will be released in vapor form when the bulb is broken.” Broken glass is the problem now. Henry, the Parks’ community and volunteer services liaison, will make sure that the broken glass is gone this afternoon.

For future reference, Henry has provided a link to the useful EPA fact sheet on dealing with fluorescent bulbs.

I watched from our house as the guy did this. I saw the car slow down and then noticed as he looked around to see if anyone was watching. Then I saw him swing the object (I didn’t know at that point it was a fluorescent light bulb) over his back shoulder. I just cannot understand this behavior. This tributary eventually flows into our drinking water. The area is where our kids and pets play. It is the source of life for animals and birds we cherish, including the ducks around. I wish I had seen his license plate so he could be fined.