Wednesday, April 23, 2008

State to cover schools' tainted ground.

WENATCHEE — The state Department of Ecology plans to lay down clean dirt or concrete at four schools in north-central Washington this summer to protect children from old orchard chemicals in the ground.

A thick layer of dirt will be laid down at Orchard Middle School, Sunnyslope Elementary and Peshastin-Dryden Elementary, and concrete will be used at Lee Elementary to cover soil contaminated with unsafe levels of lead and arsenic.

After the work is finished, the state will have just one schoolyard left to treat in north-central Washington before completing a cleanup project that began in 2001.

The state tested soils at all schools in Chelan, Douglas, Okanogan and Yakima counties in 2002 for levels of arsenic and lead, which were sprayed on apple orchards in the 1940s to fight codling moths. Many schools in the region are built on old orchard sites.

Fourteen schools in Wenatchee, Orondo, Chelan, Manson, Bridgeport, Brewster and Omak were found to have unsafe levels of the chemicals in the soils.

Contaminated school grounds in Yakima County will be tackled next.


Anonymous said...

What does this mean for the new administration site?

Anonymous said...

Will they do that for the new ESC?

Anonymous said...

Naw. You need to have a contaminated orchard not a contaminated industrial site. said...

Either way, it is an interesting approach and a meaningful admission that contaminated spaces can still be utilized.

It would stand to reason that such a contaminated school property might be worth slightly less than a pristine school site. The appraisals for the new administration site never even considered the cost of mitigating the contamination.