Soil testing considered at Riverside Park, prompts tense exchanges

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) — A group called Citizens for a Clean Wausau has pushed for testing of Riverside Park. The group is concerned about possible dioxin contamination in the soil.

In July the Parks and Recreation Committee requested a plan from REI engineering to take soil samples at the park.

Tuesday the firm brought it’s proposal back to the committee. It specified six locations to draw soil samples from across Riverside Park.

Tom Killian, a spokesperson for Citizens for a Clean Wausau, voiced disapproval over the initial plan at the meeting.

“In its current state, this would not be recognized as sufficient, acceptable or legitimate as a testing plan,” said Killian.

Tense Exchanges

Killian’s comments prompted several tense exchanges during the meeting.

“I feel like this has gone around and round and round for a number of meetings,” said Jamie Polley, Director of the Marathon County Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department. “And now we’ve come to another proposal and Mister Killian is picking it apart.”

Polley went on to ask for specific soil sample location recommendations from Citizens for a Clean Wausau.

“I’m, frankly, growing very fatigued of this constant hashing over something,” said committee member David Nutting. “We either will do something, but finance is really going to draw the conclusion. Finance is going to say whether they’ll spend the money and do this or not. That’s what it really comes down to.”

Killian later told the committee he felt he was being “castigated” and seemingly attacked.

“We presented three zones of testing. We presented the depth. We recommended the testing. We even went so far as to recommend the specific EPA method of dioxin testing. This was done in great detail and I know it was in depth,” said Killian. “So perhaps you missed some of those things Miss Polley.”

“Mister Killian… I ask that city staff, and I hope the mayor will back me,” responded Director Polley. “You have stood up here and you completely downgrade staff on these things. I’ve seen the report. I have the PowerPoint right here and we can bring it out and we can do that. And yes, you give three spots but they’re not exact spots.”

Final Decisions

The committee looked at spending $32,000 on the REI plan, but the initial motion failed.

They later voted to table the agenda item until next month. At that point they expect to have more input from the Citizens for a Clean Wausau.

Curtis Aderholdt

Curtis Aderholdt

A WAOW photo journalist since December 2014.

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