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City of Ann Arbor successfully completes soil remediation at Leslie Science & Nature Center

A section of soil is fenced off at the Leslie Science and Nature Center on June 27, 2019 after reports of contamination in the area.
A section of soil is fenced off at the Leslie Science and Nature Center on June 27, 2019 after reports of contamination in the area.

ANN ARBOR – The city of Ann Arbor has announced that outdoor programming can resume at Leslie Science & Nature Center after a complete environmental investigation and soil remediation.

In 2019, staff at LSNC asked the city to analyze soil found near an area it had planned to construct a Nature Playscape after noticing an unnatural depression in the ground. Maps from the donated land indicated it may have been used as a dump site.

The city hired engineering firm Tetra Tek to carry out testing of the soil, which discovered elevated levels of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, zinc, selenium, silver and mercury.

Out of an abundance of caution, LSNC staff installed a fence around the area and moved all programming offsite.

“I’m thrilled to report that the soil remediation project at Leslie Science & Nature Center has successfully been completed,” Derek Delacourt, City of Ann Arbor Community Service Area administrator, said in a statement. “Now, LSNC staff can focus on planning fall outdoor programming adventures for their families and campers.”

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Heavy metals and three feet of soil were removed from the depression, which was then backfilled with sand and topsoil.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy has determined that the soil no longer poses an unacceptable exposure risk to site visitors.

The investigation and remediation of the site was made possible by a $535,440 grant from Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority’s Local Brownfield Revolving Fund.


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