E. Coli forces closure of Stafford Park

January 17, 2009 2:08:07 PM PST
Officials in Redwood City have shut down public access to a local park after a high level of E. coli bacteria was detected in a play area.

Parks superintendent Gary Hoover announced Friday that Stafford Park was closed pending further notice after a routine test of a play area's sand by the San Mateo County Health Department revealed a "higher than expected" level of bacteria.

Environmental consultants were on site to oversee the removal of 40 cubic yards of contaminated sand, according to Hoover, which will allow for testing of underlying layers of dirt.

"Once all of the sand has been removed, the underlying soil will be tested," Hoover said in a prepared statement. Officials will reopen the park if the soil tests negative for E. coli.

This is the first time the gastrointestinal bacteria has been detected in a Redwood City park, according to Hoover, who added that the city plans to implement its own guidelines for future testing of parks' sandy areas in the absence of any national or state regulation.