The city of Salem has closed Bertram Field after elevated arsenic levels were found in 5 of nine soil samples taken during preparation for improvements at the location.
City officials said the arsenic was detected in "normal soil six inches below the surface.'' Bertram Field is Salem High School's main football field.
"Out of an abundance of caution and in compliance with Department of Environmental Protection standards, the field has been closed,'' the office of Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll said in a statement.
Driscoll's office said that the city is working with the state Department of Environmental Protection and a consultant identify the extent of the contamination and create a plan to mitigate the hazard.
"The level of contamination is not anticipated to significantly delay the planned improvements intended for the field, which include a new running track, replacing the grass with turf, and other miscellaneous upgrades,'' the mayor's office said in the statement. "Updated information will be provided by the City as it becomes available.''