MPCA continuing progress in St. Louis River Area of Concern with upcoming Munger Landing cleanup project

Contact: Stephen Mikkelson, 218-316-3887

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today released its environmental assessment of a project to remove decades-old legacy pollution from the Munger Landing area. The project is part of larger St. Louis River Area of Concern effort that is addressing contamination at several sites in the Duluth – Superior Harbor and the St. Louis River estuary. The Munger Landing access on Clyde Ave. in Duluth will be closed from summer 2022 through fall 2023 to facilitate project work. 

Cleanup at Munger Landing will include dredging approximately 100,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment, disposing of the sediment at a certified landfill, covering the dredged area with clean sediment, and re-introducing vegetation.

Due to a long history of industrial pollution, the site is contaminated with lead, nickel, zinc, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxins/furans. These pollutants have contributed to warnings about fish consumption in the area, as well as beach closings, potential harmful contact to humans, loss of fish and wildlife habitat, and harmful impacts to aquatic insects and vegetation in the environment.

Next steps include signing a Great Lakes Legacy Act project agreement with the U.S. EPA. Remedial construction would start in the spring of 2022. The project will cost an estimated $32 million.

The MPCA is inviting the public to review its environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) and provide comments. The EAW describes the project’s potential effects on the environment, including its impact on nearby land uses, geography, habitat, and historic sites. The EAW also details air and vehicle emissions, dust, traffic, and odors that the project might produce and describes the potential for temporary indirect impacts to sensitive ecological areas from operational noise and increased turbidity.

Review the EAW on the MPCA website. Request a copy from or submit comments to Patrice Jensen (651-757-2465), MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN 55155-4194 by 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 23, 2021.

The SLRAOC has prioritized 43 construction projects to address contaminated sediment and restoration of aquatic habitat in Minnesota and Wisconsin; 16 of these projects are being led by the MPCA. The U.S. and Canada designated 43 such areas of concern where historic industrial activities left a legacy of environmental damage. In 2013, the MPCA, Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources, and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa developed a comprehensive plan to address these legacy damages in the SLRAOC. To date, these organizations have completed 41 of the 80 management actions that need to be completed before delisting can be proposed.