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City reassures community convention center soil is safe

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SAN ANTONIO – The city is offering more reassurance when it comes to the soil moved from the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center to an area off of Highway 151 and Old Highway 90, near the San Antonio Food Bank.

After reports that the soil could have been potentially contaminated.

On Wednesday, the City Council got a presentation from Raba Kistner Environmental, Inc. confirming that the soil is safe.

"What we heard today validated that the science says it's not contaminated," said District 6 Councilman Ray Lopez. "It certainly has minerals in it that could be of concern if they were at higher levels, but they're not."

The city is also posting a new video on their website, which outlines the facts backing up the conclusion that the soil is safe.

"Almost all of the data showed that the metal concentrations were below natural occurring background levels that were established by the state of Texas," said Rick Klar, who is a geologist and vice president of Raba Kistner Environmental, Inc.

The city has already had two studies conducted on the convention center dirt and another study on the dirt and vegetables at the San Antonio Food Bank.

Mike Frisbie, city engineer and director of Transportation & Capital Improvements said the first study was questionable.

"The data showed there's no contamination," said Frisbie. "There's no groundwater contamination of any kind. It meets the state requirements for residential use yet their recommendation was you need to take the soil to a landfill or reuse it on site."

Lopez said the city has taken great measures to validate that the soil is safe to ease public concern.

"There's always been that public concern of anytime there's environmental issues, are we doing the right thing?" said Lopez. "And, I think what we're doing today is trying to go that extra step to make sure that there's a high level of confidence."

The city is also looking at a third test on the convention center dirt that was moved to get a "medical perspective."

These tests are being conducted by consultants overseen by the health department and they expect the results in the next few weeks.


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