A Briarcliff Manor softball field closed more than three years ago by health concerns could be cleaned up this summer and back in use by fall, the school district’s consulting engineer estimates. Cleanup of a second field, also closed since January 2010, will be done in summer 2014, he said.
Michael P. Musso, the engineer, said work was scheduled to begin in late June to cover the middle/high school softball field with a . The second site, known as the practice field, is subject to heavier use. Accordingly, it will get a 24-inch barrier layer the following year, Musso said.
He spoke Saturday at the last of three public presentations last week on the district’s $2 million plan to bring the fields into compliance. The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Health (DOH) approved the plan in November.
Meetings like last week have become commonplace at the middle school theater since the second half of 2011. That’s when district officials began presenting alternative ways to remedy the effects of potentially contaminated construction debris and demolition waste illegally dumped in 1998. Wrongly represented by a contractor as clean fill, the material was dumped on school grounds and the athletics fields were built over it.
A state watchdog agency declared the fields in environmental violation in 2001 and, despite efforts over the years at cleanup, the school board took them out of service in 2010. No specific public health risk has ever been identified at the site, school officials have pointed out, but some parents had blamed the fields for their children’s illnesses. Three families have filed formal notice of their intent to sue for damages.
Saturday’s final meeting attracted several key participants:
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANT: Musso, a senior project engineer with Henningson, Durham & Richardson Architecture & Engineering (HDR);
COUNSEL: Michael S. Bogin, from the environmental law firm Sive, Paget & Riese in Manhattan;
DISTRICT: Superintendent Neal Miller and Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey;
SCHOOL BOARD: Trustee Dina Brantman;
THE AUDIENCE: Alan Rubenstein, no doubt accompanied by countless fellow Briarcliff residents taking in the proceedings via television.
At the middle school, however, Rubenstein sat alone for the hour-long briefing, bringing Saturday’s audience turnout total to five. Fourteen attended Tuesday’s program.
The presentation, getting down now to workaday issues, focused less on things like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and more on such imminent real-world concerns as dust control, the roads dump trucks will travel to haul in clean soil and the facilities workers will use for bathroom breaks.
Musso carried the bulk of the presentation load, addressing multiple issues with PowerPoint illustrations and brief comments.
"There will be an air-monitoring program going on," Musso said. "There will be continuous air monitoring and the necessary dust suppression on-site."
The task of keeping dust in check in summer’s heat will largely be accomplished, he said, by wetting down the soil. Still, to monitor air quality, HDR “will have a presence on-site.”
"We have a responsibility to report in to the DEC and DOH as these remedies are being implemented," Musso said.
Dump trucks with 15- and 20-cubic-yard capacities will haul in the clean fill, Musso said, perhaps as many as 60 to 70 loads to provide 1,300 cubic yards for the softball field and “upwards of 300” trips to deliver the practice field’s 5,500 cubic yards. Exact truck routes will not be known until soil sources and contractors are identified, he said, but will likely include Route 9 or 9A and, of course, Pleasantville Road.
Those details and others “will be hashed out in the contract bid documents, Musso said, along with such things as hours of work, overnight security, fencing and signage.
The contractor, not yet chosen, will have to provide the workers’ toilet facilities; the school’s, Musso said, will be off-limits.
The board plans to approve a resolution to begin the Remedial Action Work Plan (RAWP) at its regular 8 p.m. meeting tonight.