A Dutchess County playground that's been called a toxic hazard has now captured the attention of Governor Hochul.

Hudson Valley Congressman Pat Ryan has been raising concerns over the possibility of lead contamination in local neighborhoods due to old telecommunication lines. The wires, which contain lead, continue to be buried underground and strung on poles over communities throughout New York state.

This has caused many to question whether the lead-filled cables could be leeching dangerous toxins into yards, playgrounds and other public spaces. After Pat Ryan called out telecommunication companies for not addressing this potential danger, attention was put on a park in the Village of Wappingers Falls that sits under lead-containing cables.

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Tests Conducted on Temple Park

Temple Park was temporarily closed last week in order for state officials to test the soil. On Tuesday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that testing had concluded and Temple Park in Wappingers Falls is safe to reopen. Soil samples taken at the park showed lead levels that met both state and federal safety standards for children’s play areas.

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Hochul said that there was no evidence found of elevated or widespread lead contamination in the park. 

DOH’s soil sampling investigation found no evidence of elevated or widespread lead contamination in the sampled area, and the results suggest there is no evidence of significant exposure or public health risk for those utilizing the park. DOH and DEC are coordinating with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and have advised the Village of Wappingers Falls to reopen the park. 

Soil lead levels naturally fall between 50 to 400 ppm. All of the 25 samples taken fell within this range except for one that was 410ppm. That sample was taken from a section of the park next to the road and away from where children play and is not considered a risk.

New York State is directing telecommunications companies to provide a full inventory of lead-containing aerial and buried cables over the next few weeks so that they can be addressed or removed.

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