San Ramon: Central Park sports fields remain closed after glass bits found in compost

Facilities to stay closed until contaminated compost can be removed or cleaned

Late last month, city officials were forced to close down all sports fields in San Ramon Central Park when recent compost spreads were found to have small pieces of glass contaminating the grass.

A recent load of compost was spread over the Central Park fields between Sept. 10 and 13, but on Sept. 18, the fields were discovered to be contaminated with glass shards and promptly closed off by city officials. They will remain closed for the remainder of the fall season, reopening after their regular winter closure.

Typically a routine process, compost is periodically spread over sports fields in San Ramon as a part of the city’s efforts to maintain their outdoor areas.

Compost for this purpose of maintenance is usually made from yard trimmings and food scraps -- in order to maintain fields in an environmentally friendly manner, assistant city manager Eric Figueroa wrote in a statement. The contaminated compost was provided by the city’s current waste service provider, Waste Management of Alameda County.

Waste Management is currently in the process of negotiating with the city to extend their contract for an additional 10 to 15 years, with their current contract set to expire next September.

In a statement, city staff said that cleanup efforts begun immediately after the discovery of the contaminant, and the fields will remain closed until the spring sports season begins. With glass contaminating every sports field, it will be a difficult process in removing the small pieces. Currently the city plans to tear out the fields and proceed from there.

The city is working with Waste Management to find solutions, Figueroa told that the waste service provider will be paying to repair the fields.

City officials will not re-open the fields until the potential physical danger posed to park goers is secured. They are however confident they will be able to solve the issue before winters end.

“Until the issue is fully resolved and the safety of the community is ensured, the sports fields will remain closed. City staff will continue to update the city of San Ramon website as more information becomes available,” Figueroa said. "Our main concern is athlete and user safety."

Central Park’s playgrounds and some grass areas have stayed open to residents, but the sports fields will remain closed until further notice. The impact on local organized sports leagues remains unclear, but city officials are working to find alternate locations suitable for local sports teams needs.

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