Wednesday, June 19, 2013
More Lead Contamination At Kincaid Park Could Cost City Big Bucks
City and state officials say exact amount is unknown
ANCHORAGE—Unknown amounts of contamination—that’s what the Municipality of Anchorage is dealing with in one of the most used parks in the city and on a new soccer field.
With 577 cubic yards of soil already contaminated with lead found in the old biathlon shooting range in Kincaid Park, finding more on the surface of the soccer field could end up leaving the city with a million-dollar receipt.
“We do have a challenge at Kincaid we've discovered that more lead was spread over more areas than was originally thought,” said Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan.
It’s a challenge to find the lead-laden soil and bullet fragments that are still on the Kincaid soccer field; contamination that was used as fill.
“The work they have been doing is to dig up all those soils to look for the lead to find out where it's been,” said Robert Weimer, an environmental engineer with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
While some of it has been picked up, finding the rest is a costly new part of the city's plan.
“We discover it through a series of visuals,” said John Rodda, the director of Parks & Recreation for the Municipality. “You might see it on the ground, some of it with metal detectors.”
But the problem is, nobody actually knows how much lead and antimony is spread out in the area and former range, which have been around for 20 years.
“There were a couple of areas where there was lead discovered where we didn't expect it to be,” said Rodda. “When it was discovered it was a problem everybody agreed that we had to clean it up.”
It’s a clean-up process that, despite extra costs, city officials and the community hope will be completed soon.
Department of Environmental Conservation officials say the total amount of contamination could be up to a thousand yards of soil but they won't know until it's all dug out.
Excavation is expected to be completed by mid-August. Then the soil will be treated to coat the lead so it’s not toxic and can be disposed of—a process which should take about two weeks.
With costs ranging from a half-million to a million dollars for cleanup, Sullivan says the goal is to get the responsible parties to pay their shares.
But with a lawsuit in court, there is no timetable on when that could be.