DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Safety measures are being expanded at Durham parks that have tested positive for lead in the soil.
Crews at Walltown Park expanded the fenced off area to the point where most of the park is now off limits to the public. It was one of five parks that had areas fenced off after the Environmental Protection Agency updated it's recommendation for safe lead levels in January.
Durham Parks and Recreation confirmed it would be following the Environmental Protection Agency's new guidelines which now want lead levels in soil where children play to be less than 200 parts per million (ppm), instead of the previous 400 ppm.
Durham park officials fenced off a total of 35 different areas because of these new guidelines.
"Definitely really concerning if this is contaminated as well," Marc Loeffke said.
Loeffke has a newborn son who he hopes to bring to Lyon Park one day when he's older. But after more areas were closed off Tuesday, concerns linger as to how widespread the ongoing lead contamination could be.
"We want to make sure everything's safe before we feel good with him walking around," Loeffke said.
The five parks were historically incinerator sites, or received soil from them, according to Durham Parks and Recreation. The source of lead and contaminants is not totally conclusive in all cases, although it's likely related to the former incinerator sites, according to an August soil assessment report.
The NCDEQ said the samples are currently being analyzed and a report is being prepared that should be completed in April 2024.
The results will fully inform the city and community as to all the contents in the top 12 inches of the soil collected in areas at these five parks.
City officials also aim to get more public input in a meeting with a group representing concerned citizens no later than February 15.
Durham Parks and Rec also said in a memo they had requested the Durham County Department of Public Health to resume blood lead testing after the department stopped doing it in October 2023.
Editor's note: A previous version of this report stated that the parks fenced off 35 acres of land. That should've said 35 different areas at the parks. The acreage that has been sectioned off is unclear.