As students returned on Tuesday for the first day of the new school year, a lacrosse field at Beverly Hills High School remains closed after arsenic was found.
The toxic substance was found last week when crews were surveying the campus for an upcoming renovation project, said Beverly Hills High School Principal David Jackson. Tests conducted on other parts of the campus showed only the field was contaminated. Staff fenced the area off and posted warning signs.
"There's no immediate danger to students or staff," Jackson said.
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Jackson said the arsenic found on the field was several feet into the ground, not on the topsoil. He said the California Department of Toxic Substances Control is coming up with a plan to get rid of the arsenic.
"When you're dealing with a 100-year-old campus and you're looking at doing a massive building project on that campus, there's lots of things that we're going to find that we don't anticipate," said Brian David Goldberg, president of the Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education.
Beverly Hills High School is built on what used to be an oil field, and there is still an oil well there that is scheduled to close in December 2016.
Arsenic is found naturally in the Earth's crust and humans consume it in small amounts by breathing, eating and drinking, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. But areas where mining occurs often have higher levels of the toxic substance.
Jackson said the school district notified parents and the lacrosse team will practice at a different facility.