Joplin city council expected to approve plan - KOAM TV 7

Joplin city council expected to approve plan to clean up parks lead contamination

Updated October 15, 2012:  The Joplin city council tonight will decide whether to give the green light to a project removing lead contamination from city parks.

It has been four months since Parr Hill and Garvin Parks were closed after testing positive for lead contamination.

Now that the EPA has approved an additional $2.4 million in funds to help remove lead in residential yards and park properties that remediation process can begin.

Tonight the city council plans to  award a contract with a firm that will do all the remediation work at both parks.

But the lead contamination in Parr Hill Park hasn't been a setback for projects like building the picnic shelters.

Parks Director Chris Cotten says they are working around the areas that are not contaminated so they can get the park open once the remediation is complete.

Although the areas where shelters are were not contaminated health officials says laying down concrete "caps" the soil and in-turn remediates it.

Officials say the crews will dig either six or twelve inches to remove the lead depending on how deep the contamination is.

"We are going to be most concerned around those shelter areas where they are attracting kids like play areas but if it's like a green area we will only go six inches because it's not a risk," says Dan Pekarek, the Director of the Joplin Health Department.

According to tonight's city council agenda, members plan to approve Crossland Construction to remediate the contaminated land.

Posted June 15, 2012:  After the tornado all parks in Joplin were tested for lead and cadmium contamination, and now Parr Hill and Garvin Parks have both tested positive.

City officials tell us the levels of lead found in areas of both of these parks are consistent with what was found in other properties contaminated with lead after the tornado.

The contaminated areas will be removed and replaced with clean soil in the coming months.

Park officials have closed down both parks to ensure the safety of children.

Health department officials say the uprooted trees and high winds from the tornado caused a great deal of soil disturbance bringing mine waste up to the surface.

Officials say the contaminated areas are spread out throughout the parks and not just in one area.

"The risk is going to be quite low because people don't spend a lot of time at the parks as they do at their residential home," says Dan Pekarek, the Joplin Community Health Director.  "Fortunately, the actual playground areas at the park, those are fine.  Those areas where the large playground equipment was located, those are fine."

Again, the parks are now closed to the public but residents can help Parr Hill Park win up to $100,000 for improvements by voting in Coke A Cola's Favorite Park competition:  https://parks.livepositively.com/parks/mvc/page/search-park

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