Security measures have been increased at the decommissioned Griffy Water Treatment Plant by the City of Bloomington Utilities Department, according to a city press release.
The measures, which include the installation of night lighting and 24-hour security guards at the site, are to protect people from exposure to mercury on the premises of the decommissioned plant and to prevent the migration of hazardous material, per the release.
According to Vic Kelson, director of City of Bloomington Utilities, the guards will cost the city more than $20,000 a month, per an Indiana Public Media article.
The site, located adjacent to Griffy Dam, supplied drinking water sourced from Griffy Lake from 1925 to 1996 via water meters located in the plant.
Environmental remediation was completed in 2017 at the decommissioned treatment plant building to remove mercury found there.
Even small amounts of mercury can cause serious health problems, according to the World Health Organization. This can include toxic effects on nervous, digestive and immune systems.
As a result, the city urges people to stay away from the decommissioned plant.
According to the city's release, recent inspections at the site revealed "unauthorized activity inside and around the building since the remediation has recontaminated the site by releasing and distributing mercury that had not previously been detected."
Trespassers on the property may be subject to arrest and hazardous material decontamination procedures, per the city.
The remediation efforts will have no effect on recreational activities at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve, according to the release.
“At this point, trespassers present the most significant risk to the public and the environment," Kelson said in the release. "Mercury can travel out with you on your shoes, clothing, or skin – and you may not even see it. ”