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Toxic soil removed from neighborhood parks in Butte

park cleanup .jpg
Posted at 9:41 AM, May 23, 2023

BUTTE - Some toxins in the soils have been found in some of Butte’s neighborhood parks, so the soils are being replaced with clean soil so that kids and adults have a safe place to play this summer.

“This included all the ball fields, all the school open spaces and park areas, and very large parks such as Stodden Park as well,” said Butte’s Department of Reclamation Director Eric Hassler.

As part of Butte's Superfund cleanup, soil samples were taken at its parks and nine were found to have elevated levels of arsenic and lead. Contractors have removed about 18 inches of soil and will replace it with clean soil.

“So there’s no potential exposure to children. Children dig, they don’t want to stay at the surface, they’ll want to dig and play and they’ll potentially open that up and have an exposure to one of the heavy metals,” said Hassler.

Though levels were not extremely high, they wanted to be cautious since children are more likely to be exposed.

“Small pockets here and there through the parks system in Butte need to have some additional remedy,” he said.

The project is being funded through the Atlantic Richfield Co. under the consent decree to clean up Butte's Superfund site.

“I think it’s going really well. You’ll end up with a clean, safe environment for Butte children, a new park with new equipment with everything for them to enjoy in a safe fashion,” said Hassler.

The projects are expected to be completed by the end of the summer.