Last September, we first told you about the contaminated soil found in and around the playgrounds at East Broad Elementary school, where the old CSX railyard once stood. Extensive testing turned up traces of lead and arsenic, which led to a major cleanup effort. During the winter break, crews worked round the clock to make sure they removed all the contaminated soil. And today the students here were finally able to go back to the playground.
"CSX has given the schools some equipment, put out some hop scotch games on the sidewalks so the children can play on the cement, but it's not been the same," said teacher Mary Anne Rhoades.
While the kindergartners and first graders are happy to be back on their playground, the playground for the older kids is still condemned and probably won't be worked on until the summertime.
"There are some areas there that still need to be remediated, and probably it'll be the same thing, removal of the soil, replacement with clean fill," said Gary Sease of CSX. "Until we do that work, those areas will remain isolated and we know that causes an inconvenience, but it's for everyone's safety."
That also goes for the public park next door. It's been gated off until the contamination at the school is cleaned up. "We don't want those contaminates anywhere around our environment, but we feel there is a good safety margin here and that there is no cause for concern," said Sease.
The students at East Broad were also tested for exposure to lead and arsenic, and fortunately not one tested positive for any of the contaminates.