Councilor Lorrie Bruno has once again asked the city’s Planning and Development Department and the administration to have soil testing completed on the topsoil at Seven-Acre Park, which sits atop a brownfield site where General Electric used to run a plant along the Malden River.
Bruno pushed the matter forward Monday night, after receiving a memo from Planning and Development Director Jamie Errickson, who was unable to attend Monday night’s meeting.
In answer to Bruno’s earlier request for sampling to be done at the site, Errickson reported that the city had hired a Licensed Site Professional/Environmental Engineer, who visited the site twice to investigate a number of issues at the site including reports of sick dogs who had visited the site and the failure of newly planted trees to survive and grow at the park.
Errickson and the city’s consultant, Jeffery Nangle, essentially indicated their belief that the reports of sick dogs and dying trees were the result of other conditions they observed during their two site visits in July.
For instance, Nangle noted, “standing water was noted in isolated locations, together with an abundance of nearby dog feces. During this initial site visit, dogs were also noted to be drinking from the standing water, which may be related to the above reported concerns.”
As for the trees, Nangle said that it was his understanding that irrigation pipes that had been installed to help the park’s vegetation grow had been broken by nearby roadwork, and said the loss of water is the likely culprit in the tree deaths.
However, Bruno held fast and noted that she had specifically asked for the city to conduct soil sampling of the site to be sure that the contamination below the cap had not spread to the upper levels of clean fill that had been deposited to create the new park.
With the support of her colleagues on the Council, Bruno renewed her call for soil testing at Seven Acre Park and asked that the city report back the council in one month.