The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency plans to contact the Trumbull County Sanitary Engineer's Office to learn more about the discipline taken against three workers who failed to report a mercury spill near a water tank in Champion last year.
Ohio EPA spokesman Mike Settles said the agency was waiting on the outcome of the investigation into the October 2011 spill before determining if action is warranted by the state, too.
''At no time was there concern that mercury was in the water system,'' Settles said Friday. ''It's just a matter of the folks that operate the system and were they doing as they should.''
County commissioners Thursday suspended without pay:
Ronald Watson, senior environmental engineer, hired in 1994, for 15 days;
Charles Davis, water operator, hired in 2000, for 10 days;
Thomas Elder, operator in charge, hired in 1994, for three days.
Watson, a classified employee, can still appeal the county's suspension to the State Personnel Board of Review.
According to a report from the Human Resources Department from an Aug. 17 hearing on the matter, Davis found mercury while cleaning the sump pit at the water tank on Woodrow Avenue in October 2011. Davis told Elder and Watson what he found and found more mercury as he continued his cleaning, according to the report.
The mercury was collected in a plastic sample bottle. At the end of the job, Davis tried handing the bottle to Watson, who refused and asked Davis to dispose of it. Davis put the bottle ''in a protected area'' in his county vehicle, the report states.
Sometime in March, April or May, Davis gave the bottle to Scott Verner, sanitary engineer, who gave it to another worker in July at a safety committee meeting, the report states.
That July 12 meeting is when sanitary engineer's office executive director Rex Fee learned of the spill and took steps to have it cleaned up.
No mercury entered the water system, but there was a dangerous level of mercury vapor contamination that was still present two days later when the Ohio EPA arrived, Fee testified at the hearing.
A gauge installed inside the pit some time in the 1960s that had mercury in it was the source.