Lead levels in entryway close Head Start
By Dawn De Busk
CASCO — Lead levels discovered in the entryway of the Grange Hall have caused the temporary closure of the Casco Head Start Program for preschoolers.
Going forward, the Town of Casco — which owns the Grange Hall located on Meadow Road — is trying to get cost estimates on lead remediation.
Casco Town Manager Dave Morton reported the lead issues to the Casco Board of Selectmen during its regular meeting on Tuesday.
The town paid for a lead level check of the building recently. The results of the testing are that there are harmful lead levels in an area frequently used by the public.
The town has 30 days after being notified by the State of Maine about the harmful lead levels to remedy the situation or close the building, according to Morton.
“Inside, the building it seems to be fine. But, the problem is one of the lead areas is the porch, where people would track in lead dust,” Morton said.
“It is my understanding that the (Head Start) school is closing classes this week until they figure out” what the report means and what to do next, he said.
“If it was a $1000 fix to allow them to finish the school year,” it would get taken care of fairly quickly, Morton said. “But, I don’t have a price estimate,” he said. “I’ve called several lead abatement companies on the state’s website. I’ve had no takers.”
Currently, an area business-owner, who deals in environmental hazard cleanup, “is contacting lead abatement companies for us,” Morton said. “I’m not sure where to go from here,” he said. “It is another issue with the old building.”
“The report we’ve seen was a draft. I haven’t seen the final report” with recommendations of what to do with building, Morton said.
Selectman Calvin Nutting said, “It is just unfortunate. It (Head Start) is an incredible program for children that age.”
Other board members agreed.
Selectman Thomas Peaslee asked if the town has a time frame to correct the problem.
“We have 30 days after being notified by the state. Then, we have to shut the building,” Morton said.
He said the extent of the lead levels is confined to “the entryway and the exterior of building.”
Morton said he will not know what to do next or how much it will cost until he talks to an expert.
Chairman Holly Hancock said the draft report indicates “there was nothing found in the ground.”
“Hopefully, we’ll have some solutions. By our next meeting, we’ll know something,” Hancock said.
The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Jan. 24.