Update: Clare County Emergency Services announced that the Lake Station and Farwell offices have reopened. At least part of the affected mail has been cleared and delivered.
DETROIT (Michigan News Source) – Some of the mail delivered to the Allen Park USPS mail processing facility in Detroit was withheld from delivery, as it may have been contaminated by mercury.
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On May 15, post office employees discovered the hazardous chemical leaking from a customer’s package. Five postal workers and two employees at a nearby convenience store, which the employees visited, were medically evaluated and later cleared. No injuries have been reported.
In an email to affected customers, USPS apologized for the delivery delays.
“This letter is being sent to notify you that your mail piece, which entered the Allen Park NDC Processing facility in Detroit, MI on or about 05/12/2023, is currently being withheld from processing due to safety concerns.
“Unfortunately, your mail piece may have been included in mail contaminated by mercury that leaked from a package mailed by another customer. Because mercury is a hazardous material (HAZMAT), we have been working with private companies certified to handle hazardous materials in an effort to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.”
Lake Station and Farwell post offices remained closed ten days after the incident, as the package containing mercury was transported through both offices. Mail services were rerouted through the Clare USPS location.
Jerry Becker, the Emergency Services Director at Clare County, expressed disappointment with how the situation was handled. He said his department was not informed of Farwell’s closure by those managing the incident, and that he received the information from residents who were unable to enter the office. No details were provided by the lead investigator or public information officer about the duration of the closures, according to Becker, who has filed a complaint with a U.S. Congressman about the lack of transparency.
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“We understand that we are not always able to satisfy our customers in the resolution we provide,” said Tracey Laye, Complaints and Inquiry Clerk at USPS. “However, we did investigate according to Postal policy and procedure.”
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