MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The City of Miami began additional testing, Thursday, after contaminated soil was found at Coconut Grove’s Blanche Park.

Work crews could be seen using heavy equipment to bore into the soil  looking for toxins.

“These uncertainties are really unsettling to a lot of people,” said Melodee Rodriguez.

She’s brought her son to the playground for years and is now worried.

“The biggest concern is the long-term exposure and the simple fact that nobody knows; you’ve got these little brains and the little bodies that were digging in the sand before it was capped and building their sandcastles and being little kids,” Rodriguez said.

Tests performed in August showed that some of the dirt in one area of the parking lot at Blanche Park is tainted with toxic metals, dioxins and arsenic six inches to a foot beneath the ground.

“Was that just one sample or is there a bigger issue at the park?”  asked Assistant City Manager Alice Bravo.  That’s the question the testing is trying to answer.

At least 24 spots in the park will be tested according to officials.

The new tests will examine areas deeper, about 18 inches to two feet, beneath the surface

The testing will include the perimeter of Blanche Park on 3045 Shipping Avenue and a section between the children’s park and the dog park.

“I will agree if you have to close the children’s park because they need to be very careful, but we’re fine,” said dog park visitor Anna LeBron.

Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff told concerned neighbors of the park Monday night, ash dumped at the side back in the 1940s from an incinerator known as “Old Smokey” might be the reason for the contamination.

The city must do a complete investigation and submit the findings from it to the county by the middle of October.

Earlier in the week, city workers began paving a portion of the parking lot that was once gravel to create a cap that would make the area safe, for now.

Not everyone is alarmed by the toxins.

“My daughter grew up playing in that park from the time she could crawl and well, I’m sure she’s fine,” Carlone Cashen said..

“The park is covered with an artificial turf and now it’s covered with asphalt so direct exposure to the soil has been limited as much as possible,” said Bravo.

The findings of the testing will be presented at a meeting, Monday, September 16, 2013 at 6 p.m.  The meeting will be held at 3255 Plaza Street in Coconut Grove.


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