East Broad Elementary Cleanup Progressing - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/23/03

East Broad Elementary Cleanup Progressing

For the past four months, crews have been working to get the contamination problem at East Broad Elementary in Savannah under control. Soil on the playground tested positive in September for small amounts of lead and arsenic. As the air sampler continues to test the environment for toxins, workers are removing the contaminated dirt where school children used to play.

They're hoping to be done before the kids come back from winter break. "At least by the time the children are back, all the playground equipment will be back up," said Rob Gordon, the Savannah-Chatham Board of Education's director of risk management.

Even though test results proved none of the students were contaminated by the potential poisons, officials want to remove the dirt as a precautionary measure. "We had some samples come back that did have lead and arsenic, actually at low levels, but for residential standards, we're trying to get it even below standards," Gordon said.

Officials say the work should be completed inside the courtyard by the time the kids go back to school in January, but the side playground won't be finished until the summer. Still, school board officials say that shouldn't be a problem. "All the contamination is contained and encapsulated, but we're just trying to get it removed and the courtyard's back up so we can feel 100 percent safe that the children will be protected," said Gordon.

The CSX Rail Company is in charge of the cleanup. They are storing the contaminated dirt on their property until they get clearance to dump it.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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