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Officials confirm Salem's Bertram Field is safe for construction

Posted by Terri Ogan  June 21, 2013 09:17 AM

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After conducting an assessment at Salem's Bertram Field, officials have confirmed that there is no risk to workers who will be excavating soil at the field on Powderhouse lane and constructing a new track and field there.

The city of Salem closed the field earlier this month after elevated arsenic levels were found in 5 of nine soil samples taken during preparation for improvements at the location.

City officials said the arsenic was detected in "normal soil six inches below the surface.'' Bertram Field is Salem High School's main football field.

According to a statement from Mayor Kimberley Driscoll's office, a licensed site professional completed the risk assessment, along with a risk analysis for a child, "assuming a regular and frequent contact with the field for a period of five years." The analysis also found that there is no health risk.

The report’s findings are also true for older children and adults who have utilized the field in the past, the statement said.

Because the method of remediation – excavation and removal of the topsoil – is also part of the project plan, officials do not expect this discovery to significantly delay the project, but the completion date has been moved from October 1 to October 18.

Terri Ogan can be reached at oganglobe@gmail.com, or follow her on Twitter.

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