Experts: Contaminated soil in Wausau not hazardous - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Experts: Contaminated soil in Wausau not hazardous

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Experts said the soil along Thomas Street and the Riverside Park in Wausau is not hazardous.

They weighed in on soil contamination Thursday evening at a committee meeting in Wausau.

"Dioxins are present in the Thomas Street neighborhood both in the park side and the resident side, however the exposure level was below the hazard level," said Wisconsin Department of Health Services Toxicologist Clara Jeong.

Two sets of testing have been done on the soil along the Thomas Street corridor for harmful chemicals. In September, testing done by the city showed no excessive levels of chemicals. However, residents hired a private company to conduct testing on the soil showed elevated levels of dioxins.

The toxicologists took those results and then analyzed if a person consumed 100 mg of soil from Thomas Street for five days a week, excluding the winter, for 30 years, the level of dioxins they would consume. They determined those numbers were not at a hazardous level.

For years, the city has been looking to reconstruct Thomas Street which would include widening the road to make it safer.

Residents have continually voiced their concerns over the possible contamination and what the construction could possibly release in the air.

Even after the experts said they believe the soil is safe around the park and Thomas Street, residents said they're still concerned and want more testing to be done. Residents who garden daily said they're worried about the dioxins from that along with the food they're eating from the contaminated soil.

City officials said they can't test everywhere.

"The reality is we can't test every single sight, we can't test every single location," said Wausau Director of Public Works Eric Lindman.

Construction on Thomas Street is scheduled for 2019. No decisions were made at the meeting, however city officials said they'll continue to study the issue.

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