University play area remains shut

A PLAY area at the University Preschool and Child Care Centre at the Australian National University (ANU) will remain closed for another week after the discovery of elevated lead levels in three soil samples from the centre’s courtyard. 

ANU Vice-Chancellor Prof Brian Schmidt

Concerns began when a parent complained about flaking paint at a nearby building last month.

Independent tests on 73 soil samples at the Centre found elevated lead levels, caused by flaking lead-based paint, in only three areas against the walls in the courtyard.

No elevated lead levels were detected in high-use play areas, or on any play equipment or sandpits at the childcare centre.

ANU vice-chancellor Prof Brian Schmidt says the areas had been isolated and posed no ongoing risk to children at the childcare centre.

“Remediation of the soil is underway, but the courtyard will remain closed for another week to allow a thorough environmental clean up,” he says.

“While tests show no elevated lead in the play area or sandpit, ANU will replace the sand and soil in order to reassure parents that the area is safe.”

He says parents of children at the centre have been notified of the results.

The play area will re-open after a clearance certificate is obtained from an environmental hygienist.

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