Lead found in soil at city playground

New Orleans — The city will temporarily close a section of Desmare Playground, 3456 Esplanade Ave., after it found elevated levels of lead in the soil.

The New Orleans Recreational Development Commission and Office of Coastal and Environmental Affairs decided to test the Bayou St. John playground before a community organization did a rebuild project.

The city is working to remediate the playground in the next two weeks. At that point, the affected areas will be tested again before being reopened.

The estimated cost for remediation services is $3,400.

“Our public agencies have moved swiftly in instances where elevated lead levels may exist to ensure public health safety for our kids,” City Health Commissioner Karen DeSalvo said.

Lead in the soil is a particular concern for young children who might ingest the soil around the playground.

“We once again are encouraging all parents in our city, especially those with children under age 6, to have their kids tested for lead,” DeSalvo said.

The city will work during the next several days to communicate with nearby residents and businesses, including meeting with the Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association.

Cabrini High School and Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church are adjacent to the park, and Cabrini uses a baseball field at Desmare Playground that did not have elevated levels and will not be affected by remediation.

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