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More Contaminants Found at Greenwich High

GREENWICH, Conn. — Continued testing has found contaminants in four fields at Greenwich High School . All fields at the school will remain closed, officials from the district said Friday afternoon.

As of Aug. 10, testing of 161 surface soil samples on the fields has found polychlorinated biphenyls , or PCBs, along the outfield of baseball field 2, the west side of turf field 3, and the right outfield line of softball field 5 where it borders turf field 4, officials said. PCB, a toxin banned by Congress, was not detected in the soil around the football stadium and tennis courts.

About 75 percent of PCBs detected have been found in the soil beneath the grass area between the west parking lot and turf fields 3 and 4. One soil sample in the west lot that contained high levels of PCB is prompting the district to file a “significant environmental hazard” report with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. That spot is within a fenced construction zone.

In mid-July, during excavation work for the Greenwich High School Music Instructional Space and Auditorium Project, contaminated soil was found in the west parking lot adjacent to the fields, prompting immediate environmental testing. The work in the west lot was stopped and the excavation area was contained. During further testing in late July, PCBs were found in fields 3 and 4, prompting closure of all athletic fields until further notice.

The district said the decision to open a field would be based on input from officials from the offices of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Department of Public Health, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. District and town officials are making back-up plans for all programs that use the fields. Greenwich High is expected to open for the 2011-2012 school year on time.

The town has budgeted $200,000 to cover the testing. All excavated soil will be removed from the west parking lot, which should be usable by the time school starts, the district says.

The next regularly scheduled Greenwich High Music Instructional Space and Auditorium building committee meeting is Aug. 16 at 7:30 a.m. at the Havemeyer Building. Updates on environmental testing are posted to the Greenwich High School Web site .

Do you think the field will be safe when school starts? Comment below or email ahelhoski@thedailygreenwich.com

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