In any solid waste contaminated site, dioxins are generally higher. But dioxins are strongly retained/fixed in the soil, so the potential of dioxin leaching to groundwater is much lower unless concentrations are really high, Toor explained.
Still, the tests dont address a bigger worry to many parents: what was the risk before the park was completely turfed over earlier this year?
Kids eat sand. Whether you like it or not, they do, said Dawn McCarthy, who took her 4-year-old and 7-month-old daughters to the park almost daily for play dates with a group of neighborhood moms. When youre dealing with whether kids were damaged, we have to be looking at the real potential, and that was before the city installed artificial turf.
The Florida Department of Health received the report Tuesday and is speeding up its review to get a quick answer to questions, said Director of Environmental Health and Engineering Samir Elmir.
Were trying our best to expedite the review process, he said. This is a priority for us.
The city intensified its testing of the park, tucked in the center Grove, last month after a wider study raised concerns. More than two years ago, the city discovered contamination at its old municipal incinerator, about a mile away, which is now home to a firefighters training facility.
The county ordered the city to address the problem, but the city failed to do so until residents began complaining. In addition to testing around the training facility, the county demanded sampling within a mile radius, including area parks. Most turned up clean, except Blanche and Merrie Christmas Park, which the county ordered closed and fenced off while its being studied.
Initially, workers sampling Blanche Park found elevated levels of arsenic and buried ash in the center of the park. The city briefly closed the park and paved over the parking lot, assuring residents the artificial turf provided a safe cap. The city installed the turf in the dog park about two years ago and finished the turf in the playground earlier this year, said Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.
Because consultants have not yet figured out the boundaries of the contamination, they were continuing to take samples on Wednesday, Sarnoff said.
Theyre looking for the edge of the remnant ash, for where it stops. Thats the last piece of the puzzle: where is the northern edge of the remnant ash, he explained.
The answer is still going to be same for park, but the question is what if the remnant ash is beyond the park? Sarnoff said. Because then you have houses.
While testing continues, another park, Lincoln Park at 2950 Jackson Ave., is being spruced up with new playground equipment to accommodate parents, Sarnoff said. The park, he said, has already been tested and given a clean bill of health.