A Wausau City Council representative is calling for environmental cleanup at a west side park after soil testing performed in April showed multiple exceedances of state Department of Natural Resources soil standards, validating long-held concerns by residents in the area.
For years, residents worried about potential soil contamination in Riverside Park and asserted there may be issues with cancer-causing soil dioxin levels in the that could exceed state standards. Now, that assertion is a reality, after the city’s April 2020 environmental testing revealed concentrations of dioxin and furan that exceed the DNR’s not-to-exceed direct contact limits for a non-industrial setting. Based on the city’s initial analysis, concentrations of one dioxin and one furan were more than double state soil limits for a non-industrial setting.
Multiple exceedances were identified below a culvert that empties into the park and neighbors an area that once housed a cold storage building at the former SNE plant. One area of the cold storage building was used as a “drum accumulation area” for hazardous waste.
Based on initial data and analysis by the city’s consultants, the other eight soil samples taken in the park away from the culvert outfall area also identified low-levels of contaminants, but those concentrations did not exceed state soil standards.