This summer, Garland ISD has a plan in place to clean up soil where elevated levels of arsenic were detected on one of its campuses.
Longtime Garland resident Stephen Yearout said he can start breathing a little easier after Tuesday night’s meeting at Sam Houston Middle School.
“I’m pleased that Garland is being proactive in the testing and the remediation of the soil,” Yearout said.
The plan was set in motion after finding and removing elevated levels of lead and arsenic at nearby Park Crest Elementary School. A decision to test at Sam Houston found seven out of 119 grids tested had arsenic above the Environmental Protection Agency’s cleanup level.
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A letter sent to parents reads in part:
“Immediately, GISD contacted the Texas Department of State Health Services regarding the findings of the Terracon report and potential health concerns. Based on recent communication with Terracon and DSHS regarding the findings of the Sam Houston Middle School soil assessment, the immediate health risk is not present.”
“At this time, GISD is working with Terracon to coordinate soil cleanup activities this summer on the Sam Houston Middle School campus, which will consist of removing soils from the grids that exhibit concentrations of arsenic over the cleanup level of 24 ppm.”
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With days left in the 2022 school calendar, the district says it will start the cleanup process while students are out for the summer, replacing the old soil with new, uncontaminated soil.
Yearout, a former Sam Houston student himself, and the only parent in attendance Tuesday evening said he has high hopes for his children and generations to come.
“We need to make sure that future generations can come here and buy their starter homes and enjoy Sam Houston and Park Crest and enjoy the fields that are here like I did when I was a kid,” he said.
Garland ISD officials said the new soil will undergo continuous monitoring for lead, arsenic and other contaminants.