(CN) – Threatening to derail the project, an environmental analysis found arsenic contamination more than double the legal limit at the site of David Beckham’s proposed $1 billion Major League Soccer complex in Miami.
The Inter Miami soccer club was awarded an MLS franchise in 2018, and owners including retired player Beckham have since laid out plans to develop the massive Miami Freedom Park complex that includes a 25,000-seat stadium.
Inter Miami had been looking to build on the 131-acre property of the International Links Melreese Country Club east of the Miami International Airport, but property cleanup may be more costly than initially expected.
An analysis by environmental consulting firm EE&G, obtained by the Miami Herald, reportedly showed pollution underneath the surface of the golf course caused by ash from a now-shuttered city incinerator – including arsenic contamination more than twice the legal limit.
The report also found illegal levels of barium and lead in the more than 140 soil samples taken in recent months, according to the Herald.
Additional testing by the Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management showed similar results, including high concentrations of lead in the soil.
The contamination is reportedly only about a half-foot deep in the soil in some places on the property.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said team officials told him the findings could increase cleanup costs by $50 million.
Despite lawsuits and concerns voiced by county commissioners, voters approved a local ballot question to advance the project last November.