Comments sought on Minnesota Slip’s contaminated sediment clean-up alternatives

Contact: Anne Perry Moore, 218-302-6605

Duluth, Minn. — Known more commonly as the home of the retired ore carrier / tourist attraction the William A. Irvin, Duluth’s Minnesota Slip is also home to 37,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment. The contamination is the result of a century of industrial and shipping activities that left “legacy pollutants” that are likely destined for cleanup. The site is one of several identified for clean up as part of the St. Louis River Area of Concern Remedial Action Plan.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is offering the public a chance to review the slip’s four viable clean-up options and make comments at an open house Aug. 24. The event will run from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the Duluth office at 525 Lake Avenue South, Suite 400 (Paulucci Building). Parking is available adjacent to the building; access should be made through the bay side entrance.

The MPCA, city of Duluth, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff will be on hand to answer questions about the slip’s projects, sediment cleanup alternatives, timelines and next steps.

The public will be able to comment on the cleanup alternatives at the open house or in writing prior to Sept. 9. Comments should be directed to Heidi Bauman, MPCA Project Manager, 525 Lake Avenue South, Suite 400, Duluth, MN 55802 or by email to Heidi.Bauman@state.mn.us. All comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016.

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 and timely action plan to clean up and restore the area from historic legacy impacts. The Minnesota Slip site is one of several contaminated sediment areas that will be cleaned up within the Duluth-Superior Harbor area during the next five years.

Other Minnesota Slip highlights of interest:

  • Unrelated to the slip’s cleanup, the city of Duluth has hired a contractor to repair the aging dock wall.
  • During cleanup construction, the Irvin will be either moved to the other side of Minnesota Slip or taken to a shipyard for maintenance and repairs. The timing would be coordinated so as not to interfere with the ship’s tourist operations or the charter fishing businesses on the slip’s opposite side.
  • After a remedy is selected, funds from the EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office and the State of Minnesota will be used for the slip’s construction design. The actual cleanup cannot start until the stalled bonding bill is passed, which contains money for this and other cleanup projects in the St. Louis River Area of Concern.

More information is available:

After the public comment period, the agency and EPA will review public comments and select a final clean-up plan for Minnesota Slip.  

For more information about other remediation and restoration activities in the St. Louis River, visit the St. Louis River Area of Concern webpage.