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Mercury possibly found in pond at Fairmont Park in Salt Lake City

Fairmont Pond is surrounded by police tape and warning signs telling people not to fish or wade in the pond on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021.
Fairmont Pond is surrounded by police tape and warning signs telling people not to fish or wade in the pond on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Salt Lake City Director of Public Utilities Laura Briefer gave an update on preliminary testing that revealed the potential presence of mercury in the pond.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall is warning residents who live near Fairmont Park that it is possible mercury has been found in the park’s pond.

In a press conference Wednesday night at Forest Dale Golf Course, Mendenhall said the park will remain open and the risk for exposure is small, but she asked that people stay away from the park.

Salt Lake Emergency Management sent out a notice Wednesday, advising residents to avoid the park for now until further notice.

“Out of an abundance of caution, and until further notice, we ask everyone, including children and pets, avoid Fairmont Park and the park’s pond for public safety purposes. Testing of the pond’s water today found mercury inside the pond,” according to the notice.

Mendenhall says the exact level of threat to the public is unknown right now, but she does not believe it is a high-level threat.

“I want to reassure our community that at this point we have no reason to believe there is a risk to public health associated with these findings,” Mendenhall said.

Health officials say the water from the pond is not used for irrigation nor is anyone’s drinking water affected.

Mendenhall expects officials from a regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency to visit Thursday, assess any health risks and get to the bottom of what might have happened.

The pond at the park was closed late Wednesday.