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E-M:/ Detroit Beard School hearing May 9



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Enviro-Mich message from "Matthew R. Abel" <attorneyabel@mediaone.net>
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It sounds like the Detroit Public Schools need some continuing education
about community concern for land use.

What do the scientists on this list think about the safety of the school
considering the type of "containment" (or lack thereof)?

Matt Abel

Original message:


Distributed By: THE PAN-AFRICAN RESEARCH AND DOCUMENTATION CENTER
                211 SCB BOX 47, WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY
                DETROIT, MI 48202-- E MAIL: ac6123@wayne.edu

Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 09:21:29 EDT
From: CSim592951@aol.com
Subject: Beard School Update

Press Release - For Release Immediately
Contact Person: Billie Hickey, Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision,
313-842-1961 or 313-862-6962
April 27, 2001

About 50 parents and community members attended an informational meeting

sponsored by the Detroit Public Schools Friday morning at the American
GI
Forum in southwest Detroit. They demanded answers to lingering questions

about the safety of a new elementary school being built on a former
industrial site. With the nearby McMillan School scheduled to close this
year
and those students to be bussed to the new Beard School, the number of
concerned parents and residents has doubled.

The new Beard School is being built on a former industrial site that
between
1918 and 1965 housed manufacturing and assembly of steel, brass,
aluminum,
radios, televisions, refrigerators, paper products, golf balls,
textiles, and
automotive parts as well as housing military equipment and components.
From
1965 until 1985 DPS used some buildings for a skills training center. It
was
no surprise then that the limited early testing revealed unsafe levels
of
several environmental toxins, including lead, arsenic and PCBs. Now,
after
removing only the most toxic soil, the Detroit Public Schools plans to
open
the site in the fall, relying on a simple soil cap to prevent exposure
of the
pre-school and elementary school children to any remaining pollutants.

At this meeting Richard Schlayer, Environmental Manager for DPS, shared
with
parents their latest plan to underlay the soil in the kindergarten area
with
four inches of poured concrete. In the soccer and baseball field areas
eight
inches of crushed concrete will rest on a water permeable fabric
overlaid
with eight inches of crushed concrete and eight inches of clean topsoil.
The
remaining exposed outdoor areas will have the fabric topped by four
inches of
crushed concrete and eight inches of clean topsoil.

Many parents wanted to know how DPS can tell them that the site will be
safe
if they haven't finished testing. Concerned parents and community
members
still have more questions than answers about the safety of the site and
the
adequacy of DPS' proposed clean-up plan. How can DPS guarantee that
there
aren't undiscovered hot spots on the site, when it found two additional
underground storage tanks on-site that hadn't been caught in the initial

survey? Why is DPS limiting its additional testing to lead and arsenic
when
at least four other contaminants were found at unacceptably high levels
on
the site? Individual parents and community members, in discussions with
DPS
representatives that lasted almost an hour past the scheduled time,
asked for
additional testing and a reevaluation of the remediation plan in light
of
that testing and/or standards that are explicitly protective of
children.

They also asked that the community have a voice in decisions impacting
their
children. Since DPS is scheduled to begin work on the playground area by
the
middle of May, much work remains for them in order to convince many
members
of this Southwest Detroit community that they should send their children
to
Beard next fall.

A follow-up community meeting is planned for May 9 at 6pm at
St Gabriel's Church, 8118 W. Vernor to determine what steps to take
next.




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