Preschool open despite lead above ‘safe level’

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Lead testing at Captains Flat.

THE Captains Flat Community Preschool has re-opened despite lead “above a safe level” being found.

The preschool closed in early February after lead “above health investigation” levels was detected in the playground.

But a spokesperson for the Department of Regional NSW said the preschool is able to safely operate with “modified operating procedures in place” that further reduce the risk of exposure to children and staff.

“A number of options are being considered, including works to remediate the site or relocating the preschool,” the spokesperson said.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) tested 80 public sites in Captains Flat after elevated levels of lead were found on the former Lake George Mine site and along parts of the rail corridor, earlier this year.

Of the 80 tests, 33 were sent for further testing revealing 14 public and community sites in Captains Flat having concentrations of lead “above the health investigation level”.

The health investigation level for lead at schools and residential land is 300mg/kg, for  parks and reserves it is 600mg/kg. Levels above this may “be a risk to human health” and “further investigation is warranted by considering the potential for exposure”, reveals a recently released report by the EPA on soil testing at Captains Flat.

Lead levels at the preschool ranged from 1mg/kg in the sandpit to 850mg/kg at the preschool, 1900mg/kg outside the preschool and 3100mg/kg in the reserve behind the preschool.

The Foxlow Parklet recorded a lead level of 2700mg/kg.

Council has cordoned off the Foxlow Parklet and is working on a plan to remediate the site, the spokesperson said.

“The NSW Government is committed to working with the Captains Flat community, and is investigating remediation works for the legacy mine site to address the source contaminants.”



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