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Riverside Park soil testing discussion postponed

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By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — A planned discussion on proposed testing for Wausau’s Riverside Park is delayed until September, according to parks and recreation committee chair Pat Peckham.

Disagreements over possible environmental hazards in the park have been ongoing for well over a year, since members of the grassroots environmental group Citizens for a Clean Wausau brought multiple concerns to the attention of city officials and the public. Some members of the group have been researching environmental issues in Riverside Park and throughout the neighborhood for years, efforts that resulted in a statewide openness award from the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council.

The ongoing discussion was expected to continue next week during the committee’s Aug. 5 meeting. But Peckham now says the committee is requesting a more detailed recommendation from the city’s environmental consultant, asking that the portion of the park bordering the 3M and Sentry Insurance-owned Wauleco property be surveyed.

CCW is asking for testing to determine if contamination levels in the park have declined enough over time to be within Wisconsin Soil Cleanup Standards (WSCS) levels. If levels are too high, the group is asking for a remediation plan.

The group is also urging officials to determine the level of arsenic in the neighborhood and suggests testing soil near the fence line separating industrial property from the park; the wooded areas of the park, including those near former demolition areas; and a depressed elevation zone where runoff and ponding have been documented or suspected.

The proposed new date for the discussion is 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 3, Peckham said.

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