Water testing, specifically for lead, began this morning and will continue into next week, throughout the district’s schools. Dr. Crystal Edwards, Superintendent, listed drinking fountains, kitchen faucets, the main lines coming into the buildings, restrooms, teacher workstations, science rooms, and life skill and preschool areas, as sites of water collection. Older buildings will be of primary focus. Business Administrator/Board Secretary, Thomas Eldridge, noted that water will be immediately collected in the mornings, rather than letting it “run” for any period of time. This, he says, is in order to see the highest possible concentration of contaminants.
Additionally, soil remediation of six locations found contaminated with higher than allowable concentrations of the carcinogen, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), was discussed at last night’s Board of Education meeting. An environmental consultant, hired by Lawrence Township Public Schools, will issue a soil remediation report to the district this Friday.
The chemical was originally discovered at the varsity baseball field when it, and the football field, were tested by the district earlier this year in preparation for awarding a contract for the installation of synthetic turf on both fields. Following the discovery, widespread samples were collected on fields throughout the two schools’ 52 acres. The sites of contamination were found on the Lawrence Middle and High School athletic fields.
PAH is a carcinogen that can be found in gasoline and diesel exhaust, tobacco and cigarette smoke, wood-burning fireplace smoke, coal tar and coal tar pitch, burning trash fumes, and charcoal-broiled meats.
A 10×10 area of contaminated soil, behind the middle school, will be removed and replaced ahead of the full remediation project because of its small size. Students have not been able to use the fields since testing began.
Business Administrator/Board Secretary, Thomas Eldridge, clarified that funds earmarked for the purchase and installation of synthetic turf on the high school baseball and football fields can, in fact, be used for soil remediation on the fields, if need be. Board member, Michael Horan, sought this clarification after reading a rumor publically circulated on an undisclosed Facebook site.
“We could use funds for turf to help us with cleanup of these two areas because they are in the areas where the turf is to be installed. We could not use the funds for other areas because the (synthetic turf) field will not be there,” Eldridge said.
Last, Board President, Kevin Van Hise, announced the board vacancy due to the resignation of Glenn Collins. In order to fill the remainder two years of his seat, the board welcomes resumes and letters of interest from the public through May 3rd. Interested parties should send correspondence to Business Administrator/Board Secretary , Thomas Eldridge, (TEldridge@ltps.org). Candidate interviews will be held in a closed meeting on May 11th, prior to the regular open meeting, and appointment of the selected candidate will be made that night.