CHICAGO (Sept. 12, 2008) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has selected a $17.9 million cleanup plan for the South Minneapolis Residential Soil Contamination Superfund site in Minneapolis. Several informational meetings will be scheduled in October to discuss next steps.
The plan, called a Record of Decision, was EPA’s recommended option among six cleanup alternatives presented during a 30-day public comment period this past June and July. A public meeting was held June 11. Overall, about 30 comments were made during the meeting or submitted to EPA in writing.
The plan calls for removing shallow soil with arsenic levels higher than 25 parts per million. EPA will take soil samples from each excavated property to confirm that only low levels of arsenic remain. If soil one foot deep still contains arsenic higher than 95 ppm, workers will dig deeper. Once the contaminated soil is removed, EPA will fill in the yards with clean soil and restore any landscaping disturbed. In a few cases EPA may need to go back to properties that were previously cleaned if they have remaining arsenic levels of at least 95 ppm one foot below ground.
The project will begin this fall with EPA contacting owners of the targeted properties for access to perform the cleanup work. On separate tracks,
EPA will complete its engineering design work for the project and work with EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., to secure funding. EPA hopes to begin cleanup work in south Minneapolis in the summer of 2009. The entire project will take two to four years to complete.
The South Minneapolis Superfund site encompasses a number of neighborhoods near the intersection of 28th Street and Hiawatha Avenue
where the CMC Heartland Lite Yard was located from about 1938 to 1968. A pesticide containing arsenic was produced there and material from an open-air railcar-unloading and product-mixing operation is believed to have been wind-blown into nearby neighborhoods.
Since 2004, EPA has collected soil samples from more than 3,000 properties in the area. By late October, EPA aims to have cleaned up about 200 yards with arsenic levels above 95 ppm – a level that presented short-term health risks. EPA dug up one foot of soil at those properties and will revisit them if the sample results from the remaining deep soil shows levels above 95 ppm.