Contaminated soil sample leads to park closure
COCONUT GROVE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A popular children's park was closed down Thursday as crews examined its soil, a measure taken after a sample tested positive for toxins in August.
Coconut Grove's Blanche Park was shut down while crews drilled for additional samples. "[Until] you get the results, it definitely keeps you up a little bit at night," said concerned resident Campbell Minister.
The park is divided in two sides. Besides the children's recreational area, the other half doubles as a dog park, a section that was later reopened after crews finished collecting samples. The children's area remained closed the entire day, and it is expected to stay off limits to residents for the next two days as crews finalize their work.
Officials with the Department of Environmental Resource Management informed Miami city leaders that soil from underneath the park's parking lot during an August test came back contaminated with toxins, including lead and arsenic.
Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff deemed the closure of the children's park a drastic measure based on the evidence uncovered so far. "I think it's fair to be concerned," he said. "I wouldn't be overly concerned. I wouldn't pull my kids from the park."
Upon hearing about the tainted sample, some parents said they will not be returning to Blanche Park. "No," said a woman from inside her car.
City officials said the tainted sample was the only one from nearly 50 spots to come back contaminated. They added that the sample did not come from near the surface, but a range from six to ten inches deep.
A dog owner who was allowed to enter the dog park side Thursday said he is awaiting the results of the current test but will probably continue bringing his pet. "[My dog] stays mostly on the bricks, so probably yes," said Andrew Matus.
"I'm a little tentative, we go there every day to take our dog and our babies," said Minister. "I'm curious to see what happens."
There is a meeting about Blanche Park for Coconut Grove residents scheduled for Monday. Test results are expected back within the next 10 to 14 days.
(Copyright 2013 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)