Santa Clara County officials in California dug deeper into the leaded aviation fuel debate hobbling their local airport, and a study found the ground around the airport has acceptable levels of lead. However, it took some dogged determination by the local newspaper to bring the study to light. The $130,000 probe took samples from 32 locations around Reid-Hillview Airport the airport at 6 and 18 inches below the surface and none exceeded local, state or federal standards. A similar study of San Martin Airport, 23 miles south of Reid-Hillview, turned up similar results. The study was not publicly released until the San Jose Mercury News did a public records check.
It’s another piece of the ongoing controversy that has led to Santa Clara County banning 100LL at both airports, forcing operators whose aircraft need the higher octane fuel to fill up elsewhere before going there. The ban came after a study released a year ago suggested kids living near the airport had elevated lead levels, but those findings were contested. The study says the highest level of lead in soil was found near a major highway intersection and came in at 46.7 milligrams per kilogram, just below the danger level of 50-800 mg/kg.