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Briarcliff Schools to Vote on Practice Field Work

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – After voting to approve the use of natural turf on the softball field at a previous meeting , the Briarcliff Board of Education is set to turn its attention to a vote on the practice field.

The board is scheduled to vote on using the natural turf option and let site investigation company HDR submit an official remediation action plan and soil testing results to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The vote is on the agenda for the board’s regular meeting beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Briarcliff Middle School.

Superintendent Neal Miller recently provided an explanation for why the board did not make a decision on the practice field at an earlier meeting.

“Our environmental attorney recommended that I didn’t make a recommendation for the practice field because we have issues pending with (the New York State Department of Transportation),” Miller said. “Our attorney has now told us that we could make a recommendation on that field and deal with unresolved issues and get a remediation plan to DEC at the same time.”

Miller later explained that a portion of the school’s practice field rests on DOT property.

DEC inspectors found the softball field and practice field to be contaminated with "non-exempt" material in 1999 and issued a violation to the school district. The fields became contaminated in 1998 when a trucking company reportedly deposited about 100,000 cubic yards of fill that did not meet DEC requirements. The district started cleaning up and sampling the fields but further remediation ceased in 2004 when the board of education opted not to fund additional probing. Instead, the board decided to deposit additional fill on the fields and cover up monitoring wells.

Mike Musso, an environmental engineer for HDR, told the board previously that he believed no further contamination was occurring on the site.

“The DEC has looked into the impact on groundwater and there’s none of that leaching going on,” Musso said in February. “It’s been tested by other consultants, we’ve followed up on that testing as well and we’re not seeing that.”

Board President Guy Rotondo said moving forward on the field remediation work “is one of the most important items we’ve discussed on the board.”

“The concept we’re dealing with is trying to move forward while we resolve the public transportation matters with DOT,” Rotondo said. “From what I understand, it’s going to help that process move along by doing this now.”

Board members said at previous meeting that it might be a while before construction begins on the site.

"It'll be two years before we have a playable surface," trustee Eric Bashford said in January.

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