- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Harris Field Toxicity Reports Show Lead Levels 4 Times Higher Than Federal Standards | Bronx News Networkbronx

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Harris Field Toxicity Reports Show Lead Levels 4 Times Higher Than Federal Standards

Sections of Harris Field, a heavily-used park sandwiched between Bronx High School of Science and Lehman College, were found to have four times the federally-established legal limit of lead contamination for public play areas, according to documents obtained by the Norwood News with the help of the nonprofit New York City Park Advocates.

In October, the Norwood News discovered soil contamination had been found at Harris Field. At the time, the Parks Department was in the middle of construction on an extensive overhaul of the park’s playfields.

Construction has stalled since while the Parks Department completes mitigation of the contaminated areas, an undertaking that will cost $5.2 million. The mitigation pushes the price tag on the project to nearly $13.9 million.

The contamination reports were created by KAM Consultants, an environmental consulting and testing firm that operates out of Long Island City, and completed in mid-October.

The Norwood News filed a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request for all documentation related to the contamination, which advocates say should have been discovered by the Parks Department before construction even began.

It remains unclear when the contamination was first discovered.

It has been more than 120 business days since the Norwood News first filed the FOIL request. Initially, the Parks Department estimated it would take 60 business days to complete the request. The Parks Department did not respond to several attempts to find out why the documents were not forthcoming.

Today, after the Norwood News contacted the agency to tell them we were in possession of the toxicity reports, the Parks Department’s records access officer, Justin Carroll, said he would send over the documents via fax as soon as possible.

“What this is indicative of is that the city knew about this for years, because of the site [the Department of Environmental Protection noted that Harris Field was said to have high levels of lead in 2004] and they rushed this through without doing their due diligence,” said Geoffrey Croft of New York City Park Advocates.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, public play areas must be mitigated if the soil contains a lead contamination level of 400 parts per million. One area of Harris Field was found to have a level of 1,754 parts per million, according to the KAM’s toxicity reports.

Out of 15 samples taken, 13 contained levels above the federal standards for public play areas and five exceeded contamination levels of more than 1,000 parts per million.

Jeff Kuperman of the New York Environmental Law and Justice Project, said the highest levels found were alarmingly high. He said the Parks Department should have tested for contamination before starting construction to protect workers at the site. He was incredulous when told the agency had only discovered the contamination when construction was in full-swing.

1 comment:

  1. I love following this story! Only wish I were still reporting on it myself...


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