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Contaminated Soil Found at Greenwich High

GREENWICH, Conn. —The discovery of contaminated soil means that planned work won't be completed this summer on the Music Instruction Space and Auditorium Project at Greenwich High School, officials said.

The construction company, the project’s building committee and environmental consulting firms will work together to determine how widespread the contamination is and what work will be necessary to remedy the issue, according to a statement released this week.

As excavation began at the site, workers discovered soil that was darker than other dirt found earlier in July while excavating the west lot at the school, prompting immediate environmental testing. All work was stopped, and all of the dirt was covered and closed off.

The first set of tests reflected low levels of lead, arsenic, barium, volatile organic compounds of VOCs, polychlorinated biphenyl or PCBs and some petroleum hydrocarbons.

The building committee then asked for tests of the soil as well as indoor and outdoor air. The air was found to be at acceptable levels. The second round of soil testing revealed the same results as the first.

The director of communications for the Greenwich School District said no data indicates health hazards as a result of exposure. However, additional testing is required for the west lot. Current plans are to remove the contaminated soil and return the lot to a usable condition during additional testing.

“Short-term and long-term plans and their associated projected costs will be developed over the next couple of weeks,” said the statement. In addition, the environmental firms, building committee and construction company will study the history of the site, do an ongoing environmental monitoring plan, determine the impact of the findings on the project, and decide how it will impact parking availability for the school year.

Work on the north and south lots at the school is expected to be completed before Sept. 1 when the 2011-12 school year begins.

The building committee will receive an update regarding additional testing at its next meeting Aug. 2 at 7:30 a.m. at the Havemeyer Building, 290 Greenwich Ave.

Are you concerned for your student’s safety in the upcoming school year as a result of the findings? Comment below or email ahelhoski@thedailygreenwich.com.

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