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Officials begin expanded tests for contaminants in Anaconda

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ANACONDA, Mont. - Less than two weeks after Anaconda-Deer Lodge County officials found high levels of lead and arsenic in the sand and soil, Benny Goodman Park reopened Monday.

The contaminated sand and soil were replaced over the weekend, and now officials are turning their attention to other city parks.

The contaminants were transmitted to the park from a smelter in the area that closed over 30 years ago, according to Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Chief Executive Officer Bill Everett.

Everett said county officials have expanded their testing to other surfaces where people are more likely to come into direct contact with sand.

"We're doing very specific testing," Everett said. "So any spot you may see actual dirt or sand, such as in a horseshoe pit, a volleyball area or in a sand play area."

The tests will be conducted until Wednesday, Everett said, and officials should receive the results in one to two weeks.

Full testing of the park will be conducted later this summer.

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