Many Utahns dream of the day major league baseball debuts in Utah. Until then, Utahns have to settle for a little piece of the San Francisco Giants.

Well, maybe not the ball club, but a part of the Giants' new ballpark.Some 18,000 cubic yards of lead-contaminated soils excavated from the new Pac Bell Park are now bound for a waste dump in Carbon County. The first shipment arrived last week.

"It is basically dirt with a small amount of lead in it," said John Ward, spokesman for the East Carbon Development Corporation, a commercial landfill that accepts industrial waste. "It is not hazardous by anyone's standard except in California."

The contaminated soils prompted public outcries in San Francisco when the contractors building the $210 million stadium hauled some of the dirt to a local landfill after state officials first determined it did not have enough lead in it to be considered hazardous.

California toxicologists later admitted they made a mistake and halted the shipments, leaving stadium officials in a quandary as to what to do.

Shipping the wastes to a California hazardous waste dump would have cost several times as much money. It was actually cheaper to send the soils to Utah, which has a less-restrictive definition of hazardous waste.

"There are a lot of soils that contain lead and heavy metals that could legally go to ECDC that are below the hazardous waste level set by the state and federal government," said Dennis Downs, director of the Utah Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste.

"ECDC has been very careful not to take anything regulated as a hazardous waste, and we monitor that," he said, adding Utah laws are consistent with the federal law and those of other states. "California has chosen to go off on their own and have higher standards in some cases."

The soils in the Market Street area around the new ballpark are contaminated with lead left over from old industrial sites and houses painted with lead-based paint that were destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

California toxicologists measured the lead content of the ballpark soils at about 3 milligrams per liter. California regulations specify that any soils with more than 1.5 milligrams per liter of lead constitute hazardous wastes.

However, the federal government and other states, including Utah, set the threshold at 5 milligrams.

The soils are currently piled up behind second base awaiting shipment to ECDC. The shipments should be completed within a couple of weeks, Ward said.

The Giants hope to have their new stadium open for the 2000 season. No word on whether Carbon County residents get free season tickets.