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Submitted: June 16, 2010

Before LOKEN, ARNOLD, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.

On the afternoon of September 6, 2004, boys stole two bottles of mercury from an abandoned building, took this hazardous substance to a playground near the Rosemount Woods mobile home park, and released it while playing. Before police from the City of Rosemount, Minnesota were notified and arrived at the scene, people, homes, and vehicles were contaminated. Police officers knocked on doors to identify those who had been exposed, and the City contacted state and local agencies to help deal with the environmental and public health emergency. The Special Operations Team (SOT), a disaster response unit created by an agreement between Dakota County and eleven cities including Rosemount, arrived at about 9:00 p.m. and set up a decontamination tent. Shortly after 11:00 p.m., the SOT began decontaminating forty-nine persons who had been exposed to mercury, including Kevin Loye, Gina Gist, Vikki Marshall, and David Stiles, who are deaf. The next day, nurses from the Dakota County Department of Public Health began attending to the victims’ health, housing, and financial needs. The victims were provided temporary housing while their quarantined homes were decontaminated. By the end of the month, the health and environmental hazards were successfully abated.

 
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