SALEM (CBS) — With spring soccer schedules in full swing, there are two athletic fields in Salem that are closed because officials say they may not be safe.

Analysts discovered a high level of harmful metals in the soil at the lower fields of McGrath Park, including lead and cadmium. The soil on the upper fields tested fine.

“I was surprised,” said Donna Curley, a mother whose children play soccer at the fields. “Wondering how it all came about.”

WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports.

Doug Bollen of Salem’s Park and Recreation Department, said the levels were probably borderline, but they need to take precautionary measures to protect everyone. “You don’t want to take any risk at all,” he said.

The fields are built on what was the city’s biggest dump 40 years ago. Some people are worried the remnants of the dump are bubbling up through the thinner fill dirt on the lower fields.

“I’m not particularly concerned as a parent. I don’t think the levels are toxic or scary,” said Mark Mazuzan, one of coaches of a youth team that plays on the fields.

More testing is planned for McGrath Park to figure out the exact threat and a plan to fix the problem.

McGrath isn’t the only park in Salem having seen contamination problems. Furlong Park is still closed as crews dig out contaminated soil there.


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