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Press Release on the Temporary Closure of Weasel Brook Park

PASSAIC COUNTY - Passaic County Administrator Anthony J. DeNova announced the temporary closure of portions of Weasel Brook Park in Clifton, New Jersey because of elevated levels of arsenic detected in soil sample testing performed by the County. As part of the due diligence for the Weasel Brook Park Phase II Improvement Project, a Preliminary Assessment Report (PAR) was completed in compliance with Green Acres Program Rules. A Preliminary Assessment is the process of collecting and reviewing available information to identify any potentially contaminated areas of concern on a property. The PAR identified potential historic agricultural use as an area of concern.  Consequently, soil samples collected in the grass areas were analyzed for compounds associated with historically applied pesticides.  The analytical results revealed elevated levels of arsenic in four areas of Weasel Brook Park. As a result, these four areas will be fenced off and restricted from further public access as a temporary precaution. The temporary closure does not impact the basketball courts, bathrooms, spray park, playground, and pavilion area, which will remain open for use.

The PAR findings were immediately reported to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and assigned Incident Number 18-04-12-1446-58. Passaic County Director of the Department of Health Dr. Charlene Gungil released the following statement on the PAR and closure of Weasel Brook Park:

"After discussing the soil sample results with my counterpart in the City of Clifton’s Health Department, I recommended to the Passaic County Administrator that the portions of Weasel Brook Park containing elevated levels of arsenic should be closed out of an abundance of caution.
There are a number of reasons the soil samples may contain elevated arsenic levels, including the past use of Weasel Brook Park as an agricultural site or historic pesticides used to treat the grass. Moreover, as in other places in New Jersey, arsenic could be a naturally occurring organic substance.
The Passaic County Department of Health will continue to coordinate with the City of Clifton and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in further testing at the site, and ultimately determining the best course of action to remediate Weasel Brook Park."

The Passaic County Parks and Recreation Department will begin installation of a temporary fence in the restricted areas in the coming days. As information becomes available it will be disseminated to the public at www.passaiccountynj.org and through social media channels.

Any residents seeking information can contact the Passaic County Department of Health at (973) 881-4396 or the 24/7 hotline at 973-881-2790.