Cascades Park Cleanup

By: Laura Kadechka
By: Laura Kadechka

It's one month into the massive effort to clean up Tallahassee's Cascades Park, the birthplace of the capital city. Thursday night there will be a chance for residents to hear exactly what's being done.

We have to rewind back more than a century when all the contamination began. Back then it was not known how harmful the by-products of Tallahassee's former coal gasification plant were, so they were dumped on site, a problem the city is tackling now.

It's the closest thing Tallahassee will get to a snow capped mountain, but the white capped pile in Cascades Park is actually an odor absorbing foam on top of a pile of contaminated dirt.

With 70,000 tons of it getting dug up, an odor is to be expected, but the city reassures it's harmless.

Koren Taylor of Environmental Resources says, "The air quality tests below detection level except for one compound in one area, and it's a minor amount."

WRS infrastructure is in charge of the park cleanup, moving about a ton of contaminated dirt out every day. Now, there's a long history behind this park.

You wouldn't be too hard pressed to find someone who once played on the park's centennial field.

Kelly Burke played high school football there.

Kelly says, "You would go through a little double gate and you were in this athletic fortress, if you will, to have your athletic competitions, so I think it was a great place, great memories."

It may only be a big hole in the ground now, but by June when the cleanup is complete it will be ready, developing a new park for a new generation of memories.

The city says the Environmental Protection Agency approved the cleanup methods, so it is considered safe. However, if you live or work in the area and are bothered by the odors, the city's environmental resources department urges you to call them.

If you want to learn more about what's going on with the Cascades Park remediation project or want to hear more from a toxicologists testing on the site there's an open house Thursday night at 6:30 at 912 Myers Park Drive.


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