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City of Knoxville Public Service, Solid Waste Office over the past 9 years has held a series of very successful mercury thermometer exchanges, in cooperation with the TN Department of Environment and Conservation, and the Knox County Health Department and County Solid Waste Office. The Solid Waste Office is pleased to announce the progress made in 2013 protecting the environment and public health through its ongoing mercury thermometer exchange program.

The exchanges, conducted in cooperation with the TN Department of Environment and Conservation, the City of Knoxville and County Solid Waste Offices and, the Knox County Health Department has collected a total of 16.48 pounds of mercury from City of Knoxville and Knox County residents since the program began in 2005, the equivalent of 7,443 mercury thermometers. In addition to thermometers, old mercury containing thermostats and other mercury containing items have been turned in. New digital thermometers were given out for each used mercury thermometer turned in.

One gram of mercury (1/28 of an ounce, the content of one thermometer) is sufficient to contaminate a 20-acre lake to the point that the mercury would concentrate in the fish and result in a fish advisory. The mercury thermometer collection program in Knoxville and Knox County collected enough mercury to date to protect 7,443 such 20-acre lakes, or 148,860 lake-acres -- 10.19 times the surface area of Ft. Loudon Lake!

Thermometer exchanges were held in locations around the county, including EarthFest, Safety City, UT, West Town Mall, Home Depot stores, Earth Fare, Walgreens, Unwanted Medication Collection events, and the O'Connor Senior Center. Additionally, exchanges are offered on an ongoing basis at Farragut Town Hall and the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Center at the corner of Elm St. and W. Baxter Av. and, the County Recycling and Household Trash Collection Centers.

Upcoming thermometer exchanges are planned for 2014 at the same time and place as the Unwanted Medication Collection events, so watch the news for announcements of dates and locations! Tentatively scheduled for January 31 and February 1 and in June and at the America Recycles Day event in the fall. See medicationcollection.org.
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