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Archived News Release from 2009

For Immediate Release

Bacteria Level Prompts Sand Replacement at Redwood City Park

Redwood City, CA - January 16, 2009 - Testing of the sand in a play area at Redwood City’s Stafford Park revealed higher-than expected levels of the E.coli bacteria, prompting City officials to remove and replace the sand (approximately 40 cubic yards). The site has been closed, and a professional environmental consultant is on-site overseeing the sand removal. The City had the sand tested by the San Mateo County Health Department, which revealed the higher levels. Sand features at all other Redwood City parks have been tested, and all came back negative. The removal of sand is taking place today (Friday, January 16).

Once all of the sand has been removed, the underlying soil that will be tested. Assuming that sample comes back negative, new sand will be brought in and the site should re-open to the public by the end of next week.

E.coli is a common bacteria that exists in the digestive tract of humans and other warm-blooded animals. In sand or soil, it is generally caused by fecal contamination. Most strains are harmless, although some strains can cause gastrointestinal problems in humans if ingested.

The Redwood City Parks Department rakes and cleans the sand areas in all of its parks at least 5 days a week. Sand features in other City parks are now being tested for the E.coli bacteria. While the presence of E.coli at higher levels is not uncommon in beach sand in some areas, this is the first time it has been detected at that level in a Redwood City park. In the absence of any national or state guidelines for soil/sand testing of playgrounds, the City will implement its own guidelines. All sand areas at Redwood City parks will be tested annually, with more frequent testing in any area found to have high levels.

The Redwood City Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department provides recreational facilities and activities for all ages and interests, and supplies building and custodial services for City buildings. Redwood City Parks also operates the Fair Oaks Community Center, providing social, educational, and cultural activities, as well as information, referral, and counseling services to persons living in Redwood City and neighboring communities. Redwood City Parks is more than you think! Its website is located at

Visit Redwood City’s award-winning website at for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, City government, and local business. Subscribe to Redwood City’s newsletters or other City documents at


Gary Hover
Parks Superintendent
650-780-7250/cell: 650-444-4544


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