Comment sought on cleanup of the ponds behind Erie Pier

Contact: Lucie Amundsen, 218-302-6600

Known as the Ponds, these open bodies of water behind Duluth’s Erie Pier were the subject of a 2015 cleanup investigation. That investigation identified heavy metals, mercury, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxins/furans as contaminants of concern in the sediments. This contamination will likely affect benthic invertebrates — organisms that live in or on the bottom sediments of rivers, streams, and lakes.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is offering the public a chance to review clean-up options and make comments at an open house on Thursday, April 18, 2019. The event will run from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. in the MPCA Duluth office at 525 Lake Avenue South, Suite 400 (Paulucci Building). Parking is available next to the building and visitors should access it through the bay side entrance.

The April 18 meeting will give the public an opportunity to view, ask questions and comment on a number of cleanup alternatives for the contaminated sediment.

These contaminated sediments in the Ponds contribute to three beneficial use impairments (BUIs) in the St. Louis River Area Of Concern:

  • Restrictions on dredging
  • Fish consumption advisories
  • Degradation of the sediment surface or “benthos” environment

MPCA staff will be on hand to answer questions about the pond project, sediment cleanup alternatives, timelines and next steps.

The public can comment on the cleanup alternatives at the open house or in writing by May 10. Comments should be directed to Heidi Bauman, MPCA Project Manager, 525 Lake Avenue South, Suite 400, Duluth, MN 55802 or by email at All comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 10.

The St. Louis River Area of Concern is one of 43 contaminated Great Lakes areas. In 2013, the MPCA and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources adopted an aggressive plan to clean up and restore the area from historic pollution impacts. The Ponds site is one of several contaminated sediment areas that will be cleaned up within the Duluth-Superior Harbor area during the next five years.

For more information about cleanup and restoration activities in the St. Louis River, visit the St. Louis River Area of Concern sediment cleanup sites webpage. Clean-up options are available for viewing on this page.

The St. Louis River Area of Concern work is partially funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative with oversight by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.