Jersey City shuts playground area in Mary Benson Park in Downtown after tests find high levels of lead in soil
Published: Saturday, June 23, 2012, 3:03 AM
John Heinis/The Jersey Journal
High readings of lead in the soil at Mary Benson Park has forced Jersey City to close the playground area of the park, Jersey City officials said yesterday afternoon.
At the playground area of the park, on Merseles Street between Third Street and Newark Avenue, two of four tests conducted by an outside geotechnical and environmental materials testing consultant found elevated levels of lead.
“We are taking precautionary measures and will take the necessary steps to begin the remediation process,” said Public Works Director Rodney Hadley, who noted the city has notified the Department of Environmental Protection.
In residential areas, the state Direct Contact Criteria standard for lead is up to 400 milligrams (mg) of lead per kilogram (kg) of, in this case, soil. In nonresidential areas, the acceptable level is up to 600 mg/Kg.
In one of the tests, the soil tested 410 mg/kg and in another the soil tested 563 mg/kg, the city said.
The elevated levels of lead were discovered when the DPW and the Division of Architecture prepared to install new playground equipment.
City officials said they will work with the DEP on a remediation plan and yesterday officials said they can’t predict when the park will be reopened. City officials said yesterday afternoon they were not sure what caused the high levels of lead.