The Tainan City Government yesterday defended its use of recycled material to build a softball field after a legislator called for an investigation into the discovery of broken glass, insufficient soil cover and other issues with the facility.
The field in Syuejia District (學甲) that was converted from a landfill has yet to open, despite construction having been completed for years, New Power Party Legislator Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said.
The Tainan City Government spent more than NT$4 million (US$131,130) to convert the site into a softball field and NT$300,000 every year thereafter to maintain it, even though it cannot be used, Chen said.
Photo: Yang Cheng-yu, Taipei Times
Tainan Bureau of Education inspectors last week reported finding broken glass, tiles and bricks on the field, as well as a topsoil layer that was too thin and issues with bottom ash used as backfill, Chen said.
Bottom ash is the incombustible byproduct from incinerated waste, which can be used as building material or combed for metals.
Ash samples were sent for analysis to researchers at Tainan Community College, who were concerned that it might contain excessive heavy metals, she said.
Chen called on the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to conduct its own test for heavy metals.
An EPA inspector said that the project began in 2019 to revitalize the landfill after it reached the end of its permitted lifespan.
The refuse layer is topped with glass pellets then a layer of recycled incinerator aggregates, the inspector said.
There is no problem with using incinerator aggregates in construction as long as they are within standards, the inspector said, adding that the college might have been working with a different set of standards.
Bottom ash must comply with standards before it can be reused, a representative from the Public Construction Commission said.
If excessive heavy metals are detected, the source must be traced, the representative said.
Authorities should investigate the designers of the sporting facility and contractors to determine whether plans met standards and whether it was built according to the design, they said.
The Tainan Environmental Protection Bureau said that all planning and construction conformed with EPA regulations and was supervised from start to finish.
The use of bottom ash and recycled glass pellets is permitted and was part of efforts to promote recycling, it said.
Incinerator aggregates always contain such substances, but the material is seived to keep particles to under 19mm in diameter, it said.
The backfill was compacted three times after each 15cm layer was added to ensure a level surface, on top of which 5cm of high-quality clay was layed, which can be replenished as needed, it added.
Additional reporting by Hung Jui-chin
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