Testing finds elevated levels of mercury and arsenic on golf course at Mermaid Lake

On September 10th, Whitpain Township announced that evaluations and testings conducted at the Mermaid Lake property by township consultants discovered elevated mercury and arsenic levels in the soil at several tee boxes, putting greens, and one fairway on the portion of the property that was previously a golf course. The testing was done at a depth of two feet.

The discovery was anticipated as the consultants had advised the township that the use of common fertilizers and pesticides on the golf course in earlier decades could lead to elevated levels of these substances.

Further tests are scheduled to be conducted over the next 60-90 days to ensure that there is no additional contamination on the site and to determine the best means of remediation.

The notice from the township stressed that due to the contaminants only being found beneath existing vegetation, that as of now, there is little risk of exposure and the park will continue to be open for public use and planning will go forward on creating a public recreation facility on the property.

What isn’t addressed is what testing was done by the township prior to the announcement on purchasing of the property in July of 2020. The property was initially purchased by Metropolitan Development Group for $3.2 million in 2019. The township wasn’t keen on Metropolitan’s plan for redevelopment which included 53 homes. The township’s board of supervisors voted to approve a resolution to take the Mermaid Lake property by eminent domain unless a purchase agreement and closing could be completed in 30 days. The township made the announcement on the purchase on July 24th. The township paid $8.177 million.

More to come.