EPA removes contaminated soil around Treasure Mountain Junior High
Crews from the Environmental Protection Agency have begun work to remove hazardous soil surrounding Treasure Mountain Junior High.
The work, which began Monday, is scheduled to be completed August 21. The crews are removing six inches of soil around the school, including the athletic fields to the east. Lead concentrations as high at 19,000 mg/kg, greater than the 400 mg/kg mark the EPA uses as a screening level, were found in the soil.
The contamination was discovered in the spring of 2015, but students were not in danger because the sod surface cover was intact over the soil, creating a barrier from the lead concentrations.
When the EPA released a report detailing the contamination last spring, the district was in the midst of discussions about tearing down Treasure Mountain Junior High, and district leaders elected to postpone the work pending the future of the school.
When a bond proposition that included money for tearing down the high school failed last fall, the district and EPA decided to proceed with the project this summer.
“We thought it was most conservative to just come in and take care of it, especially the few areas that are fairly contaminated,” said Martin McComb, an on-scene coordinator with EPA’s emergency response program, who was onsite Monday.
Todd Hauber, business administrator for the Park City School District, said new talks surrounding the district’s master plan and recreation facility planning with Basin Recreation and City Hall, which could also result in the eventual demolition of the school, also spurred the district into action.
“What could or most likely happen here in the Treasure Mountain area would not be a new school but probably some type of athletic facility, which would keep the field basically in place,” he said. “With that thought, it seemed that addressing the contaminated soils around the fields on the east side of Treasure Mountain made sense.”
Hauber added that the EPA is shouldering most of the cost for the project, but the district will pay for additional watering to get sod reestablished and will be responsible for the restoration of the three baseball diamonds east of the school. The district would also have to repair any sprinkler systems damaged during the project.
Hauber said he expected the cost to be about $10,000 or $15,000.
The district’s website, pcschools.us, notes that EPA trucks will be entering the area around the junior high via Kearns Boulevard. No lane closures are planned, but flaggers may direct traffic as trucks enter and exit.
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A district spokesperson said six students were removed from an area in the school as police conducted a search.