PLATTSMOUTH, Neb. — Users of this city's largest park are being warned to take precautions after unusually high levels of lead were detected in three soil samples.
City Administrator Erv Portis said Wednesday that recent testing by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality at Rhylander Park found lead levels above Environmental Protection Agency standards in three of 30 soil samples.
The results of the testing were not released, but the EPA recommends a soil screening level of no more than 400 milligrams of lead per kilogram of soil.
Testing was conducted in the park that had formerly been part of then-Burlington Northern Railroad shops. The shops closed in the 1960s, Portis said.
The land for Rhylander Park was purchased by the city for $60,000 in 1986. The city spent $300,000 building the 28-acre, multi-use park and named it for late Mayor Clayton Rhylander.
Portis said the state agency is working up a plan for lead removal. He estimated that the plan could be released in 30 to 60 days.
Pregnant women and children up to age 6 should be especially careful when using the park, Portis said. Children playing in the dirt are the most susceptible to the harmful effects of lead, because of their developing nervous systems.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services recommends that all park users wash their hands prior to eating after being in the park. Park users also are advised to remove any shoes, spikes or other footwear worn in the park before entering their homes.
Clothes and athletic uniforms worn in the park should be washed separately from other laundry. Parents and park users concerned about exposure to the soil should contact a physician for additional information.
The park features baseball, softball and soccer fields, a one-mile walking trail, a batting cage, horseshoe pits, bocce ball area and volleyball court.
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