Department of Ecology Testing Contaminated Soil at Local Schools - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Department of Ecology Testing Contaminated Soil at Local Schools

YAKIMA, Wash. - Some neighbors and parents are questioning the necessity of soil clean-up at local schools.  One issue is who's footing the bill for all that work.

It's the Department of Ecology, not the school district.  A department spokeswoman says they have money coming in from oil companies that are posting record profits.  That money needs to be used for clean-up projects.

Gilbert and Robertson elementaries and Naches Intermediate School didn't have to participate, but would have to pay for the clean-up themselves if they put it off.

Project Coordinator Jeff Newschwander is taking soil samples at Gilbert and Robertson elementaries right now, as well as Naches Intermediate School.

He says the soil at Gilbert has roughly five to 15 times more lead and arsenic than the state deems acceptable.

"The ultimate goal is to reduce the levels of arsenic and lead for kids at the school.  The secondary goal is to have a permanent solution, so five years from now we don't have to deal with this again." Newschwander says.

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