MPCA, MDA propose to remove 1 site, add 9 sites to Minnesota Superfund list

Contact: Sam Brungardt, 651-757-2249

St. Paul, Minn. – The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) published in the Dec. 23, 2014 “Minnesota State Register” their proposal to delete one Minneapolis site – the Bassett Creek/Irving Avenue Dump site ‒ from the State of Minnesota Permanent List of Priorities (PLP), Minnesota’s list of state Superfund sites.

The main feature of the Basset Creek/Irving Avenue Dump site, which covers about 35 acres just west of downtown Minneapolis (Hennepin County), is the city’s Impound Lot. The site was an old dump that was used before the 1960s. As directed by the MPCA, the Minneapolis Public Works Department has investigated and remediated the site since the late 1980s. A Minnesota Decision Document, approved on Oct. 17, 2013, summarized the investigation and cleanup work that has been completed by the city. It recommended that no further action is necessary to address environmental impacts at the site, unless use of the property changes. Minneapolis intends to retain ownership of the site and continue to use it as a vehicle impound lot. The site was added to the PLP in 1986. Most of the site is covered with asphalt. The city’s investigations have demonstrated that the top four feet of soils that have not been capped meet the applicable MPCA industrial reference values for lead, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other potential contaminants of concern. The MPCA recommends that the site be removed from the PLP because the city has taken all reasonable and appropriate actions related to the identified releases.

The MPCA proposes to add these eight sites to Minnesota’s list of Superfund sites:

  • Ace Sign site, 300 W. 14th St., Willmar (Kandiyohi County) ‒ The building on this half-acre, tax-forfeited property was contaminated with mercury, but indoor air levels are now acceptable after a partial cleanup of the property in 2007, directed by MPCA emergency responders. The partial cleanup also included removal of debris and contaminated surface soils. Analysis of site soil samples last year by the MPCA found mercury in near-surface soils. Since the site is in a residential neighborhood, the main concern is potential direct exposure to any remaining contaminated soils. The MPCA wants this site added to the PLP so it can access funds for response actions that are protective of human health.
  • Boyer Lumber site, 1504 Fourth St. S., Virginia (St. Louis County) – This 2.75-acre site has housed a snow rake manufacturer, a lumberyard and hardware store, and a tool and equipment rental business. Environmental investigation began at the site in 1990 in response to a release of heating oil from an underground storage tank. In 2004, dioxins and the wood-treating chemical pentachlorophenol (PCP) were identified at the site. Groundwater monitoring has shown there’s a low-risk, stable groundwater plume. Since dioxins and PCP are present in the soil at concentrations that pose direct-exposure risks, the impacted surface soils need to be removed and disposed of off site. The site is being added to the state Superfund list so funds will be available to complete the necessary remedial actions.
  • Bulinski Point site is on the south side of Shagawa Lake, which is west of Ely, in St. Louis County. This site is surrounded by mostly seasonal residences with private wells. Elevated levels of tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) have been detected in groundwater at the site. In 2002, the source of the contamination was traced to a ditch, where it was believed PCE had been dumped. Since 2003, the MPCA has treated the water from three nearby residential wells with granulated activated carbon (GAC) to make it safe to drink. At two of these wells, PCE and TCE have been detected above the health standards set by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The site is being added to the state Superfund list so funds will be available to continue monitoring and treating drinking water from wells near the site. In addition, an investigation will be conducted to determine if vapor intrusion is occurring at residences near the site.
  • Clothing Care Cleaners site, 612 11th Ave. N.W., Rochester (Olmsted County) – This site, in a commercial area, is occupied by a single building. The former Clothing Care facility occupies the western third of the building and a warehouse occupies the rest. The part of the building occupied by the former cleaners sustained heavy fire damage in 2000. Environmental investigations have found PCE and TCE in the groundwater at the site. The MPCA wants to add the site to the PLP so it can determine the potential risks the chlorinated VOCs pose to potential receptors. Potential human health risks at the site are associated with vapor intrusion. Potential down-gradient receptors include underground utilities, Cascade Creek, and an industrial water supply well.
  • Hoover Dump site, in Bridgewater Township, about four miles southwest of Dundas (Rice County) – This site, which covers about 17 acres, was originally a gravel pit. Unrestricted waste disposal occurred there from about 1964 to the mid-1970s. Waste material was placed in and around the former gravel pit and burned from time to time. The MPCA has installed groundwater monitoring wells to delineate the site. Residents near the site rely on their wells for water. Due to the site’s remote, rural location, a municipal water supply is not available, nor is one likely to become available soon. The water from one residential well near the site contains vinyl chloride above the MDH Health Risk Limit. In 2001, the MPCA installed a GAC filtration device to make the water from that well safe to drink. This site is being added to the PLP so drinking water down-gradient from the site can continue to be monitored and treated and additional investigation can be done to determine the extent and magnitude of the contaminant plume.
  • Lakeland Groundwater Contamination site (Washington County) ‒ This site consists of a contaminated groundwater plume from an unknown source. In 1986-87, MDH sampled residential wells as part of a statewide effort to examine old dump sites. The sampling found low concentrations of VOCs. The main VOCs of concern were 1,1,1-trichloroethane, tetrachloroethane, TCE and cis-1,2,dichloroethene. The MDH issued drinking water advisories for homes where the drinking water exceeded MDH health guidelines. In response, the MPCA declared an emergency and used state Superfund money to supply bottled water to affected homes. A new municipal water supply system in Lakeland and Lakeland Shores Township was constructed in 1990-1991. All homes with drinking water advisories were connected to the new system and the contaminated residential wells were sealed. Sampling by MDH in 1996 and 1997 found no increase in residential wells over time and the plume appeared to be stable. The site was taken off the PLP in 2000. However, last May, the MDH reduced the Health Based Value for TCE from 5 parts per billion (ppb), the allowable amount at the time of the 2000 delisting, to 0.4 ppb. Subsequent sampling of wells by MDH in Lakeland and Lakeland Shores Township has shown that several residential wells in the affected communities now exceed the new Health Based Value for TCE. The MPCA proposes to re-list the site on the PLP so funding will be available to further delineate the groundwater contamination at the site, monitor additional residences, and provide for a safe, long-term drinking water supply to affected residences.
  • Merit Enterprises site, 315 Hennepin Ave. S., Isle (Mille Lacs County) ‒ This site, of about 1.5 acres, is in a mixed industrial/residential area, about a quarter mile from Mille Lacs Lake. A metal-plating facility had occupied the site since the 1950s. Before 1978, toluene and TCE were discharged to the sewer. Before the facility was destroyed by fire in 2008, soil at the site was found to be contaminated with chlorinated VOCs, which were in the groundwater at concentrations above the MDH Health Risk Limits. Runoff from firefighting activities carried some of the acids, bases, cyanide and metals used in plating onto low-lying areas nearby. Elevated levels of mercury and nickel have been found in the surface soils. Soil vapor samples also showed elevated levels of VOCs, which could potentially enter nearby homes. The MPCA wants to add the site to the state Superfund list so funds are available for further investigation and to determine corrective actions, if needed.
  • Precision Plating site, 230 Girard Ave., Minneapolis (Hennepin County). Plating operations at this site ceased in 2003 and the building was sold a year later. Soil at the site is contaminated with TCE, c-DCE and vinyl chloride, and groundwater contamination by metals and cyanide used in the plating process has been detected across most of the site at concentrations in excess of the MDH’s Health Risk Limit. This site is in a mixed commercial and residential area. The primary risks are degradation of groundwater in the shallow aquifer and its potential discharge to Basset Creek, a tributary of the Mississippi River, as well as chlorinated VOC solvent vapor intrusion into buildings on and near the site. The size of the groundwater plume and potential for vapor intrusion into buildings needs further investigation.

In addition, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) proposes to add the former Cedar Service, Inc. site in Bemidji (Beltrami County) to the PLP. The MDA has lead state agency regulatory authority for agricultural chemicals, and this site is contaminated with pentachlorophenol (PCP), a wood treatment and agricultural chemical. The PCP was used to treat wooden poles from 1971 to 1980. In 1997 and 1999, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency completed emergency removal actions at the site, including soil excavations and tank and sludge removal. Investigations by the MDA indicate that significant PCP contamination persists in groundwater, and this contamination is migrating off site, posing a threat to a food production well. Corrective actions, including groundwater remediation and possible soil corrective measures, are needed to address the contamination. Since there is no known viable responsible party, the MDA proposes to add the site to the state Superfund list to access funds for corrective actions.

A fact sheet about Minnesota’s Superfund Program is available on the MPCA website: PDF iconMinnesota's Superfund Program