Methane gas found at Delray Beach little league fields

City trying to prevent gas from becoming dangerous

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - The city of Delray Beach says it is trying to stop methane gas from becoming a hazard at the Robert Miller ball fields.

The park that hosts hundreds of games a year for people of all ages is near the corner of Linton and Dixie.

For now, the gas is below the ground, but the city is asking for $25,000 from the city commission to hire a consultant to design systems that will stop the gas from making it to the surface.

"The presence of a combustible gasses as a result of the old landfill material is a concern for us," said Richard Hasko, the director of environmental services at Delray Beach City Hall.

Baseball fields were first put at the site in the 1970s after the city smoothed over a landfill. When construction for the concessions stand started a few years ago, the city had to excavate dirt a dozen feet down for the foundation.

That disturbed chemicals from the landfill that had been safely buried.

A consultant recommended the city test the soil.

"There was some consistently high-levels of methane primarily in the corner of the main concession building," said Hasko.

Karyn Schreiner works in the concessions stand and serves on the little league's board.

"I'm in here almost every night," said Schreiner. "Doesn't seem to be a problem."

So far, the city hasn't detected any methane above ground, and doesn't believe there's an immediate danger.

Grills are still used right above spots that have tested positive for high levels of methane.

Tuesday, the city commission is scheduled to vote on $25,000 for a consultant to design equipment to keep methane from billowing up through plumbing and electrical wiring.

They also want indoor methane detectors that can be monitored from city hall.

"There is an element of public safety that we need to address and be aware of, which is why we are taking the precautions that we are now," said Hasko.

The city is going to put up no-smoking signs, but they will not post signs about the dangerous gas because they say it's not necessary unless they start detecting it above-ground.

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