Environmental testing results indicate playing fields safe to reopen
Released April 10, 2017: The results of an environmental assessment on the playing fields between the Foothills Centennial Centre and École Secondaire Foothills Composite High School/Alberta High School of Fine Arts indicate that it is safe to reopen the site.
The Town of Okotoks hired Athena Environmental Consultants Ltd to complete a number of tests throughout the site, which included methane levels as well as the landfill contents and cover.
“It was determined that the playing fields and Howard Park playground are safe for public use.” said Brian Couronne, facilities management manager for the Town of Okotoks. “There is one area on the east side slope that has thinner cover, which will be fenced off and repaired in the summer of 2017.”
The safety of our school communities is our number one priority,” said Drew Chipman, assistant superintendent for Foothills School Division. “We worked very closely with the Town of Okotoks throughout the testing process and we are very pleased that the playing fields are safe to use.”
Monitoring this site is a regular Town activity because the fields are located over a landfill, which was decommissioned in the early 1980s. Environmental testing is part of the Town’s ongoing due diligence in properly managing the former landfill.
When unusually elevated levels of methane were found in the summer of 2016, the Town undertook further testing to ensure the fields continued to be safe to use.
Foothills School Division will be adding a top dressing of soil and new grass seed to the playing fields during the summer. This will improve the fields and provide an extra layer of coverage to the site. At the same time an interceptor trench, which is designed to constrain methane from the former landfill site, will be constructed as part of the Pason Centennial Arena expansion immediately north of the playing fields.
Athena will be conducting ongoing sampling and monitoring on behalf of the Town to ensure public safety.