Arsenic discovered in soil behind East End learning center

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Parents in a Sag Harbor community are outraged and say they should have been notified sooner of the discovery of arsenic in the soil at a learning center.

The Sag Harbor Learning Center was supposed to be open by now. But the $10 million renovation of the former Stella Maris School on Division Street into a pre-K and offices for the Sag Harbor School District is delayed again after the discovery of arsenic in soil behind the building.

“I was very, very surprised” says resident Maura Platz.

But residents weren't the only ones surprised.

The school board members say they were informed about the arsenic on Monday. They say the problem is the contractor, IBI Group, admitted the contamination was discovered in the spring.

It says it then removed 300 tons of tainted soil to a special facility out of the state.

At the Monday board meeting, company representatives surmised how the arsenic got there.

"We believe the source of the arsenic was due to leaching of the pressure-treated lumber that was used to keep the dirt up along that wall area," said Bill Sands of IBI Group.

The school district says two soil samples were taken and only one turned up positive.

In a statement on its website, interim Superintendent Eleanor Tritt said:

"Despite the trace amount of arsenic found, the Board and administration take this situation seriously."

Some residents say the district needed to do more and not leave the board in the dark until now.

 

 

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