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High School Track Found to be Contaminated by Asbestos and Lead

A high school located in Honolulu, Hawaii will be holding off on their plans for an upgraded track until the site can be cleaned up by the United States Navy, this after it was found to be contaminated with a number of toxins, including asbestos.

Workers were digging around Radford High School’s cinder running track as the first phase of a plan that will see it removed and replaced with a new, all-weather track. When the digging reached a depth of three feet below the existing athletic field’s surface, workers encountered a number of metal objects, enough to cause concern and make them stop their work and put a protective covering over the exposed earth. The area was cordoned off and environmental experts were brought in to assess the situation.

According to Deputy Environmental Director Gary Gill, “They found what looked like old fill material and metal and debris. It was covered by clean soil. The public to our best knowledge, and the students, were not exposed to what was under the track.”

The initial concerns were that the debris that they found represented asbestos contamination, a constant worry whenever demolition work is being done. Samples taken from the site did indeed discover asbestos, but also tested positive for a number of other toxins in high levels. These included arsenic, lead, cadmium, dioxin, and mercury, with the lead levels being of greatest concern. The lead contamination measured at levels ranging from 240 to 6,200 parts per million in a series of tests. The threshold for safety is 200 parts per million.

The High School and a neighboring Elementary School are situated next to Makalapa Crater, which was previously the site of a military landfill used by the Navy. The military will take on responsibility for the cleanup of the site, which school officials hope will begin quickly so that they will be able to utilize their athletic field for the next school year. Ground around the elementary school and at other locations near the high school were tested as a precaution, but the contamination wasn’t found in any other locations.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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