Barker’s Alps Park

Barkers-Alps-530Baker’s Alps Park is a 48-acre city park located just west of Bayport on 5th Avenue North. The park is near the St. Croix River and contains numerous wooded hiking trails along the bluffs. Both active and passive recreational facilities are included in the park. Among the facilities are included softball fields, soccer fields, walking trails, playground facilities and open play areas. Picnic shelters, picnic tables, and charcoal grills are available for family events. In the winter months the park includes a sliding hill for children and adventurous adults. Various park facilities can be reserved by contacting the city.

History

In 2008, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup (VIC) program was contacted by the city of Bayport for assistance in assessing the west side of Barker’s Alps Park. The city planned to expand the park and trail system and was concerned that the area was reported to contain old dumps. The area had formerly been a Department of Corrections property used for farming and the land was later turned over to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The DNR leased the property to the city in 1974 under a 10-year lease agreement. The city purchased the property in 1984. The property was suspected of containing former prison waste, construction debris, tires and other unknown wastes. In 2008, the MPCA used 128(a) assessment funds provided by Region V U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to contact with Peer Engineering to do a Phase I assessment of the park property. Based on the Phase I the MPCA contracted with Peer Engineering using 128(a) assessment funds to perform Phase II Environmental Investigation of the areas of concern.

Environmental issues

Three areas of uncontrolled dumping were identified on the property in the Phase I report:

  • Area 1 contained concrete debris. Phase II sampling of Area 1 identified Polyaromatic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals and pesticides at several locations. All of the samples were below MPCA Residential Soil Reference Values (RSRV) except one sample which contained elevated mercury over the RSRV at four to six feet deep.
  • Area 2 consisted of a dump containing wood, rebar, concrete and brick pieces. Phase II sampling indicated that Volatile Organic Compound/Chemical, PAHs, metals and pesticides were detected. A “hot spot” of elevated PAHs and diesel range organics (DRO) was identified in trench TT-4.
  • Area 3 was found to contain organic material from city of Newport street sweeping operations.
  • Response actions were required at Areas 1 and 2. The MPCA used 128 (a) funds from Region V EPA to contract Peer Engineering to develop a Response Action Plan (RAP) for the Site.

Redevelopment of the site

  • The RAP called for the removal of impacted soil and debris from areas 1 and 2.
  • Removal and recycling of approximately 792 cubic yards of surficial debris and excavation and disposal of approximately 119 tons of PAH-, DRO- and mercury-impacted soil.
  • The site was graded to accommodate the sports fields, playground areas, picnic areas and trails.
  • The park was covered with topsoil and grass established along with several rain gardens.

Environmental and economic benefits

  • Impacted soil and debris was removed from the property to accommodate the new park facilities.
  • Potential exposure to impacted soil was eliminated so the park could be safely developed.

Project partners

  • City of Bayport
  • MPCA VIC staff Wayne Sarappo – Project Manager and John Betcher – Site Hydrogeologist
  • Region V EPA provided the MPCA with 128(a) funds for the site assessment
  • Keary Cragen – Region V EPA Environmental Engineer
  • Peer Engineering - Environmental Consultant