When is Play Area Sampling Required?

Oftentimes for new or proposed child care centers, there is some confusion as to when outdoor play areas need to be sampled.
Soil samples are generally required when there is a potential for children to have direct contact with the underlying soil or fill material. This includes play areas constructed on natural grass or topsoil, or having permeable surfacing with a minimal thickness (such as wood chips or rubber pellets).
One also has to research the site history to determine impacts. For example, historic agricultural use that may have resulted in pesticide contamination, or historic herbicide (weed control) application, or above ground or underground heating oil tanks would warrant some sampling.
Typically, at least two samples are collected and analyzed for suspected contaminants. The results, if favorable, are provided in a Site Investigation Report and usually submitted with the Preliminary Assessment Report in order to meet State of New Jersey requirements for child care licensing.

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