Blanche Park toxicology study released
The Toxicology reports are back for Blanche Park, SCS ES Consultants conducted the study regarding the "remnant ash" consisting of glass and heavy metals.
The test results show that public exposure of the toxins to groundwater is not expected. Two wells on site did test positive for toxic chemicals, but there is no human exposure to this water said Wilbur Mayorga, PE Chief, Environmental Monitoring & Restoration Division for Miami-Dade County, who conducted Tuesday's meeting. The water in the park comes from public water supplies, not private wells.
According to Mr. Mayorga, Miami-Dade County's drinking water meets all regulations and standards as being pure.
As for the soil in the park, astroturf is protecting the soil from contaminating people as the public does not have immediate access to the soil because of this barrier.
Results of all analytes (dioxins and metals) fell at or below the FDEP's residential Soil Cleanup Target Levels and will unlikely cause illness.
The perimeter area around the park was also found to be safe.
They are not quite clear about the exposure of the area before the astroturf was placed, but it looks as if people should not be alarmed. Gravel was placed between the soil and the astroturf as a barrier. Two different types of turf were used in the park.
Up to 6 inches of soil was tested, the "public health layer." They did not go further down as 6 inches was deemed accurate. The entire park was tested from the children's playground over to the dog park area. 30 samples were collected from the park. The toxins were found to be less than Florida's residential toxic chemical clean-up target levels of concern. Arsenic levels came out to be the highest, but that too, was found to be below health concern levels for adults and children.
"No impact to health is expected," said Wilbur Mayorga.
Parents in the audience questioned the results. Mr. Mayorga assured them that the tests are all accurate and all toxins were below health benchmark levels. Parents felt that astroturf could not possibly be the cure-all for the problem.
No public health actions are recommended at this time. Many doctors from various hospitals and cancer centers were present at the meeting. They all agreed that there is not a health concern.
Merrie Christmas Park and Douglas Park, also found to be toxic, have no seal (astroturf) to protect people, so the parks are currently closed. DERM is satisfied that Blanche Park is safe, that is why it is currently open. But the City will still come in and remove two feet of the dirt and replace it and then replace the gravel and then the astroturf which will be a long remediation process. This job should be done by spring 2014, starting in January.
As for Merrie Christmas and Douglas Parks, they should be cleaned up by the city by June 2014.
Lincoln Park (2950 Jackson Avenue) in Coconut Grove will be turned into a children's park to accommodate the children who frequented Blanche Park. It will not be a dog park.
Parents present still were not satisfied with the answers and were bothered by the fact that Blanche Park is still open. Commissioner Marc Sarnoff at the meeting, suggested that people not bring their children to the park if they were concerned.
But parents were concerned about bigger things like, "What about before the astroturf was installed in 2010 and 2013? What about the dirt and sand that children have been playing in and eating for years?"
The report is here.
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