Sustainable Hospitals
Mercury Reduction
Case Studies
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA)/
Medical, Academic and Scientific
Community Organization (MASCO)
Mercury Work Group
The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) is a public agency charged with supplying water and sewerage services to municipalities in the Boston metropolitan area. The MWRA/MASCO Mercury Work Group, a public-private partnership of the MWRA and sewer dischargers (including hospitals, universities, and other industries), was established in 1994 to study and implement ways to reduce mercury discharges to the MWRA sewerage system. One institution, the Medical Academic and Scientific Community Organization, Inc. (MASCO) that represents many local Boston hospitals, has worked from the beginning of this effort to help identify the sources and methods of removing mercury from hospital waste streams. Phase II of the Work Group was initiated in 1996 to further examine mercury management techniques and promising mercury pretreatment technologies.
During Phase I, the Work Group addressed sources of mercury, developed a Mercury Products Database, considered mercury pretreatment systems, and developed guidelines for source reduction and removal of residual mercury from hospital wastewater piping systems. As a result of this effort, 28 participating hospitals reduced the annual mercury concentration of their wastewater from an overall average of approximately 23 g/l (ppb) to as low as 6 g/l (ppb).
The Phase II effort has updated the work of Phase I and has resulted in the development of an enhanced Mercury Products Database built on a Microsoft AccessTM platform. The Database lists approximately 8,000 chemicals used by hospitals and institutions. For about 800 listed products, the Database includes the results of analytical testing for mercury content. The Phase II effort also resulted in the publication of four reports as follows:
Facilities Loadings Subgroup Report
Estimated sewer discharge loadings of mercury from five types of facilities discharging to the MWRA sewerage system.
Pretreatment Guidance Manual
Recommended steps for implementing coordinated source reduction, source segregation, and pretreatment, including mercury pretreatment.
Technology Identification Subgroup Report
Background and results of a bench-scale feasibility testing project involving six different mercury pretreatment technologies.
Mercury Management Guidebook
Recommended steps for overall management of mercury to reduce and control the mercury concentration of sewer discharges.
Case Studies
Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, New York
F.F. Thompson Hospital, Canandaigua, New York
Case Studies of Mercury Pollution Prevention Measures in Michigan Health Care Institutions
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA)/Medical, Academic and Scientific Community Organization (MASCO) Mercury Work Group
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
St. Mary's Medical Center, Duluth, Minnesota
Related Topics:
Why is mercury a problem?
The background and health effects of mercury, as well as the benefits of mercury pollution prevention.
How to establish mercury pollution prevention in your hospital.
How to get started, gather data, establish goals, institute best management practices, and measure and document success.
Best management practices for mercury-containing products in the hospital
A description of all the products and locations where mercury is used in your hospital, and what alternatives exist for reducing mercury use.
Citations for books, articles, and reports that support the information in this section.

Case Studies
Mercury Reduction
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