By Kevin Posival

Killeen Daily Herald

Two days after reports surfaced that Texas football stadiums contained high amounts of lead, Killeen ISD officials had Leo Buckley Stadium tested and now await the results from EMSL Analytical, Inc.

Tal Anderson, KISD Special Assistant to the Superintendant, said San Marcus-based Burcham Environmental Services pulled samples of the turf on Dec. 19 and then turned the samples over to EMSL.

"We're not only looking for lead but also dust particles put off by the field," Anderson said. "We really need to wait until we get the final results. All of us are concerned about the safety of the students."

Since the initial reports that Odessa' Ratliff Stadium and Birdville ISD Complex had lead levels far exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency's standard for soil surfaced on Dec. 17, Leo Buckley has been shut down.

"As soon as we heard about it, we shut it down," said KISD athletics director Tom Rogers.

This weekend's 16th annual Centex Soccer Tournament, hosted by KISD, moved all games scheduled at Leo Buckley to the Killeen Support Services Center (KSSC) and the Roos and Lady Roos soccer teams will call that field home until the turf is deemed safe to play on.

"We had heard the preliminary discussions that lead might be in some turf, but with this new evidence out, it changes things," Rogers told the Herald after the initial report. "We're going to move pretty quickly on this."

Killeen installed its AstroPlay surface in 2003, two years after Copperas Cove's Bulldawg Stadium was outfitted with the same turf.

The turf's manufacturer, a Leander-based company called Southwest Recreational Industries, Inc., went out of business in 2004.

Cove has not yet had its surface tested and superintendent Dr. Rose Cameron was unavailable for comment.

According to The Associated Press' initial report, testing commissioned by the Ector County school district on the turf at Ratliff Stadium found lead at roughly 14 times the EPA standard.

Similar testing by the Birdville school district in the Fort Worth suburb of North Richland Hills discovered a lead level nearly 10 times the EPA standard at that district's stadium, the Fine Arts/Athletics Complex.

Neither test found significant lead levels in the uppermost fibers, the portion of the field that athletes are in contact with most often.

However, testing at the Birdville stadium also found about twice the EPA limit for lead in drinking water in the runoff from the field, an indication that the lead is being released into the environment.

Evan Mohl and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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