Gateway Gazette

Additional Environmental Testing Requires Temporary Closure of Okotoks High School Playing Field

Okotoks – The south football field at École Secondaire Foothills Composite High School/Alberta High School of Fine Arts will be temporarily closed while additional environmental assessment of the former landfill site is completed. Athena Environmental Consultants Ltd has been contracted to do the required assessment.

“The additional assessment was necessary after initial results indicated there were fluctuating levels of methane at the site,” said Brian Couronne, facilities management manager for the Town of Okotoks.

The landfill, which was decommissioned in the early 1980s, is located under the playing fields between the Foothills Centennial Centre and the high school. During the latest round of methane monitoring, elevated levels were noted in three of the eight monitoring wells located on the west side of the former landfill.

As a precautionary measure, the south football field has been closed to the public as further testing is undertaken,” said Drew Chipman, assistant superintendent of corporate services at Foothills School Division. “We continue to work with the Town of Okotoks and Alberta Environment regarding any requirements that may arise.  Our top priority, as always, is the well-being of our students and staff.”

“The Town works closely with the school division in the ongoing management of these lands to ensure the protection of public health and safety,” said Couronne. “As part of this process, the sports fields are monitored on a regular basis.”

The sports fields are adjacent to the area where the Pason Centennial Arena expansion is currently under construction. Environmental testing on these lands is also part of the Town’s ongoing due diligence in properly managing the former landfill.

Once the assessment is complete, more information and recommendations for appropriate management measures will be shared with the public.  The Town and school division are working closely with Alberta Environment and Parks to ensure best practices are followed.

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