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R&D 100 AWARD .... Mercury Removal/Recovery Process has been accorded the prestigious R&D 100 Award and named by R&D Magazine as one of the most technologically significant new products in 1994.

THREE RIVERS ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD .... MRS has been honored in its own community through the Three Rivers Environmental Award which was presented to MRS for "commitment to environmental excellence, leadership, and accomplishment".

MOST NOVEL TECHNOLOGY AWARD .... 1994 Pittsburgh Growth Capital Conference

"TOP 25 EMERGING ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES" .... MRS was one of five companies selected for a special write-up in a Forbes Magazine supplement highlighting the "25 top new environmental technology companies to watch".



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Mercury is a naturally occurring metal that is found in several forms. Metallic mercury is a silver white odorless liquid at normal room temperature and pressure. If heated, the liquid metal will evaporate into a colorless, odorless gas. Mercury is also found in the form of sulfur-, chlorine-, and oxygen-bearing compounds and amalgams.

Exposure to mercury occurs from breathing mercury vapor, ingesting contaminated water or food, or via transdermal migration. At high levels, mercury exposure may result in damage to the brain, the kidneys, and developing fetuses.


In 1999, EPA estimated that approximately 75 tons of mercury were found in the coal delivered to power plants each year and about two thirds of this mercury was emitted to the air, resulting in about 50 tons being emitted annually. This 25-ton reduction was achieved through existing pollution controls such as fabric filters (for particulate matter), scrubbers (for SO2) and SCRs (for NOx). As more scrubbers and SCRs are installed to comply with the Clean Air Interstate Rule and other regulations, and as mercury control technology is used in response to state mercury regulation, emissions may decrease.

There are a number of currently available control technologies that coal-fired power plants can use to reduce their emissions of mercury to the atmosphere. For example, controls for sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and small particles that have already been installed remove some of the mercury before it is released from the stack. The effectiveness of these technologies for mercury removal varies, depending on characteristics of the coal and the configuration of the power plant. In some cases a plant might consider changing the type of coal that it burns in order to get better mercury control from its existing control devices.

Control technologies specifically used to reduce mercury emissions from coal fired power plants have recently begun to be used on some power plants with success. The most highly advanced technology, activated carbon injection (ACI) has been used on facilities that burn municipal solid waste for the past decade. Particles of activated carbon are injected into the exit gas flow, downstream of the boiler. The mercury attaches to the carbon particles and is removed in a traditional particle control device. 


Current Regulations:

  • the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a limit of two (2) parts of mercury per one billion parts of drinking water, and requires that discharges or spills of greater than one (1) pound of mercury be reported,
  • the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has set a permissible limit of one (1) part methyl mercury in a million parts of seafood,
  • the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has set a limit of one (1) milligram of mercury per ten (10) cubic meters of workplace air that should not be exceeded during any part of the workday, and
  • the EPA requires:


    • thermal treatment of listed hazardous wastes having a total mercury content of 260 parts per million, or higher, prior to disposal,


    • thermal treatment of characteristic hazardous wastes containing 260 parts per million, or greater, which fail TCLP testing prior to disposal, and


    • either thermal treatment, or other acceptable treatment, of characteristic hazardous astes which contain mercury in amounts less than 260 parts per million and which fail TCLP testing

Regulations addressing permissible levels of mercury are being reevaluated by several agencies.


The following sites are recommended for additional detail and the most current regulations in effect.

CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration

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