Business Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 20: Property

Contaminated Surplus Property

(Appendix 5E: Mercury-Containing Materials)

BPPM 20.77

For more information contact:
   Surplus Stores

Form:  Item Evaluation

Mercury-Containing Devices

The department may offer equipment items for surplus which contain unbroken mercury-containing devices which are integral to the function of the equipment. However, the department must identify these devices on an Item Evaluation form for each item. Surplus Stores must notify prospective buyers of any nonleaking mercury devices within items prior to sale.


The list below provides examples of mercury-containing devices and is not exhaustive.

  • Barometers
  • Commercial/industrial cooling equipment
  • Flame sensors Float switches Flow meters Freezers
  • Gas-fired devices with pilot lights and flame sensors (gas ranges and ovens) Gas flow regulators
  • Commercial/industrial heating equipment
  • Lamps, including the following types:
  • Fluorescent high-intensity discharge High-pressure sodium Mercury arc Metal halide Neon UV disinfectant

  • Manometers
  • Pyrometers
  • Septic tanks Sphygmomanonometers Sump pumps Switches
  • Thermostats Thermometers

Contact Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) for additional information on identifying mercury-containing devices; telephone 509-335-3041.


Note: Prior to surplusing, the department is responsible for managing intact mercury thermometers that are not integral to the function of the equipment or any broken thermometer as chemical waste. Follow the guidelines of the University’s Hazardous Waste Management Program. To view the guidelines, see SPPM 5.66, 5.68, and the Chemical Collection Request form.

The departments may sell a thermometer that is an integral component of an item and is intact. However, the department must identify the thermometer on an Item Evaluation form.

Mercury Spills

See SPPM 5.62 for more information.

Pullman Campus/Whitman County

If mercury is spilled at any WSU Pullman or Whitman County location after normal work hours (Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) or in a public area at any time, evacuate personnel from the area and telephone 911. A public area is an area such as a hallway, lobby, or sidewalk. Note: If mercury is spilled in a nonpublic area at WSU Pullman or Whitman County during normal working hours, do not call 911. Contact EH&S; telephone 509-335-3041. A nonpublic area is a room to which access can be controlled by some means, i.e., a door. Environmental Health and Safety must clean any spilled mercury and release the area for reoccupancy.

Non-Whitman County Location

If mercury is spilled at a non-Whitman County location, evacuate personnel from the area. If the spill occurs during normal work hours (Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.), contact the Statewide EH&S Manager; telephone 509-663-8181, ext. 230, or EH&S in Pullman; telephone 509-335-3041. If the spill occurs after normal work hours, contact the Whitman County Emergency Dispatcher; telephone 509-332-2521. Environmental Health and Safety trained and/or approved personnel must cleanup the spill. Contact EH&S to release of the area for reoccupancy; telephone 509-335-3041.

Revisions:  See BPPM 20.77 revision history.