Saturday, October 13, 2012

Update on Oaklawn

Update on Oaklawn...

In our efforts to keep the Oshkosh Community informed on the progress of Oaklawn Elementary School, the district will be publishing regular updates on the construction process.

EDITION #1 – OCTOBER 11, 2012
Ground-breaking for the new Oaklawn School has been set for October 19, 2012 at 8:00 am.

District and community representatives will be present for the event, and Miron Construction will officially begin work following the brief ceremony. The district has been waiting for the official groundbreaking until the final site testing was complete.
Earlier this month, the District received information indicating the presence of elevated levels of metals in the soil in the area adjacent to the new Oaklawn School construction site. After
discussions with our advisors, the District decided to have additional soil samples taken to determine the presence of metals in the soil on the Oaklawn property.

What were the results of the tests?
Based upon the recommendations of our environmental consultants, we had additional testing conducted at various points throughout the construction site. The tests found metals (notably
lead) at levels consistent with the earlier tests on the neighboring property, but that were above DNR recommended limits. The testing also revealed that the metals found were of a nature that, for purposes of disposal, is classified as non-hazardous. This means that the soil that is removed can be disposed of at a landfill that accepts ordinary waste or trash without the need for more costly remediation measures. The only volatile organic compounds found in the additional testing were at extremely low levels.

So what is the District planning to do with this information?
Our environmental consultants advised that the site can best be protected by “capping.” This means that a barrier is placed between soil that has elevated levels of metal and the surface.
Much of the site will be protected by the building that will be constructed and by pavement. The remaining areas will be capped by removing the topsoil and by placing a protective layer of
clean clay and top soil.

Has the DNR been involved in this process?
Yes. The DNR has regulatory responsibility for land that may contain hazardous materials. The District has continued its consultations with the DNR. We discussed the test findings and our
consultants’ recommendations with them. The DNR has agreed with our consultants’ recommendations and have been very supportive of our plans.

What else is the District doing with respect to protecting the public?
Our consultants advised us that the type of contaminants found in the soil do not typically pose a threat of airborne exposure. But to be exceptionally careful, the District plans to add to its air monitoring activities. At the recommendation of our consultants, the District plans to do additional monitoring at the source of construction activities where dust may be created. This monitoring should help to ensure that proper precautions are in place to protect workers at the site. It will also protect our children and staff and others who may have reason to be near the construction activities. Top soil that is being dug at the site will not be returned to the site. Rather, it will be removed to a landfill and new soil will be brought in to cover the site.

Do I need to be concerned about the safety of my children?
The District has received no information indicating that the safety of our children or staff are at risk. And because the District wants to ensure that nothing changes, we will continue to put in place protective measures to monitor any changes. We will authorize additional air monitoring to obtain updated data to validate that construction activities are being conducted in a safe manner. We will also continue our consultations with the DNR. Further, we expect to review the results of the air monitoring with the health department to receive the best advice available with respect to any safety concerns.


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