MPCA selects contamination remedy for Munger Landing site in the St. Louis River estuary

Contact: Lucie Amundsen, 651-757-2629

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), with input from the public, has selected a cleanup remedy for the sediment contamination at Munger Landing in the St. Louis River Area of Concern (SLRAOC), a collection of several contaminated sites in the St. Louis River and Duluth Harbor. The MPCA, along with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), will design a project to dredge and remove an estimated 121,400 cubic yards of contaminated sediments at Munger Landing. This dredging remedy will minimize risks to human health and the environment.

The MPCA will apply for a Great Lakes Legacy Act project agreement to conduct the Munger Landing cleanup. Once the project agreement is signed, the U.S. EPA and the project sponsors could begin the cleanup process as early as 2022. Since the contamination crosses into Wisconsin, is located near a public water access, and affects nearby City of Duluth properties, MPCA will also partner with the WDNR, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR), and the City of Duluth on the project. The estimated cost is $19,346,000.

The Munger Landing project site is adjacent to the Clyde Avenue boat launch in Duluth’s Smithville neighborhood, and is a popular place for fishing and boating. The City of Duluth is planning a kayak launch north of the fishing pier and a pedestrian trail along the rail corridor next to the landing. This site is also near the proposed St. Louis River National Water Trail.

Contaminants of concern in the sediment include lead, nickel, zinc, polychlorinated biphenyls, and dioxins/furans. The sediment contamination at Munger Landing contributes to several problems in the SLRAOC:

  • Restrictions on dredging
  • Fish consumption advisories
  • Harmful conditions for insects and vegetation living at the sediment surface
  • Beach closings and body contact restrictions
  • Loss of fish and wildlife habitat

The SLRAOC is one of 43 Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes, designated by the U.S. EPA. In 2013, the MPCA, MNDNR, WDNR, and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa developed a comprehensive plan to clean up historic pollution and restore habitat in the SLRAOC. See the MPCA web site for more information about cleanup and restoration activities in the SLRAOC, including cleanup options evaluated for Munger Landing.