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Firing range cleanup agreement means Kincaid Park soccer field construction can move forward

(Seattle --- Oct. 7, 2010) The Municipality of Anchorage, Kincaid Project Group, Land Design North and Roger Hickel Contracting, Inc., have agreed to complete the clean up of lead-contaminated soil at Kincaid Park in Anchorage, Alaska under a settlement announced today by the Environmental Protection Agency.

According to Edward Kowalski, EPA's Director of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle, today's cleanup agreement will allow the construction of a new and safer soccer field at the site of a former firing range in the park.

"This settlement is great news for Anchorage-area youth, for the environment, and for the community as a whole," Kowalski said. "It means the cleanup will get done and ultimately children and their families will have a safe place to play without risk of exposure to lead-contaminated soil."

Today's consent agreement requires the parties to submit a cleanup plan to EPA within 90 days. Once the plan is approved, it will be implemented as soon as practicable.

Under the settlement, the parties also agreed to pay a penalty of just over $63,000 for violations of federal hazardous waste management rules also known as Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Kincaid Park is a 1,500-acre City Park owned by the Municipality of Anchorage. A biathlon shooting range operated at the park from approximately 1988 to 2007. The shooting range was contaminated with lead from bullets, with lead soil levels ranging as high as 68,000 parts per million.

In May 2008, during construction of a soccer field at the former shooting range, The Kincaid Project Group and two contractors moved lead-contaminated soil at the site, thereby generating approximately 30 tons of lead-contaminated hazardous waste soil and debris. The contaminated material was stored and disposed of on-site without treatment and without proper testing. Lead contamination from other areas of the shooting range was also disturbed and spread over approximately 4-acres without prior testing to determine whether the lead levels would be classified as hazardous waste. Some of the waste has since been properly disposed of, but additional cleanup is required in order for the site to be safely used by the community.

Lead is highly toxic to people, especially children, when ingested or inhaled. Short term exposure can cause brain and kidney damage. Long term exposure can damage the blood and central nervous system.

For additional information about hazardous waste, visit: http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/

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