The problems with Blanche Park
|What's lurking under beautiful Blanche Park?|
If your children (and pets) played in Blanche Park over the years, it might be a good idea to have them tested for lead, barium, dioxins, heavy metals and other things, many in the form of ash. That was the gist of Monday night's meeting at the park.
Commissioner Marc Sarnoff called a meeting to discuss the contamination of Blanche Park. While the commissioner spoke of 1946, when the City purchased the land, way before that, there was a dump -- since the 1930s. It was a huge hole in the ground and anything and everything was dumped in, including old cars. The entrance was on Alamanda Street. But the contaminants in question are from 1946 to the 1960s.
Regarding the lead, barium and other items, including melted glass, the City of Miami has been testing various parks and the outcome is that the park is "pretty contaminated," in Sarnoff's words. DERM dug down 6 inches to one foot and found various contaminants from years past, this all started with the investigation of the Old Smokey incinerator in Village West. At present the children's play area is capped and sealed, by rock and AstroTurf covering that. It's said to be safe.
|Sarnoff explains the situation.|
Sarnoff says the City only knew of this for one week and DERM got right on it with the testing, wasting no time getting it tested in four days.
Wilbur Mayorga, with DERM, explained to the 200 or so neighbors present (I counted), that "If you have a barrier, you do not have direct exposure." But parents are concerned with the past exposure incidents. One neighbor, Elizabeth Ramirez, was telling how kids play in a deep hole at one end of the park, immersing themselves and eating the dirt at times.
One good part about the dog park is that the one section that was tested there came out clean. They went down from 6 inches to one foot. More tests will be done and the tests that were done today are in the statistical analysis portion now.
The data that has been found has been sent to the local Department of Health. But many parents are not waiting for results, they are getting their children tested as soon as possible and I would guess their pets, too. There were almost as many dogs present at the meeting as people.
Al Crespo has a 2 part video of the meeting here.
There is a meeting on Wednesday, September 11, at 6 pm at Elizabeth Virrick Park (3255 Plaza Street), regarding Old Smokey and most likely Blanche Park now.
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