The issue of methane gas at James Park percolated to the surface at the May 27 City Council meeting. Fire Chief Greg Klaiber said that his department conducted tests of all buildings near James Park and found methane levels at zero most places. The highest readings, he said, were 4% of the lowest dangerous level, and was it was found in only one or two spots. These readings were conducted after core samples showed high percentages of methane gas 50 feet below the surface.
The reason the tests were conducted in the first place remains a bit of a mystery. Mr. Bobkiewicz stated publicly that the tests were entirely prophylactic and that the idea came about out of concern for the safety of sledders and other James Park users. But the tests conducted were all on the periphery of the park, and tests conducted under nearby Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Property were shown to reveal methane under the surface across the North Shore Channel (the canal). A public meeting held just after publication deadline may have revealed more of the rationale behind the decision to test. What to do with test results now remains to be seen.