Merchants Bank expansion site


Photo by MPCA staff

The Merchants Bank expansion in historic Winona involved a 0.45 acre parcel located at 117 Walnut Street. The bank expansion necessitated the construction of a 49 space off-street parking area east of the historic district’s bank building. To complete the project, eight 100 year old buildings along the Third Street Commercial Historic District needed to be demolished.


117 Walnut Street had been occupied by a dry cleaner for 15 years, ending in approximately 1994, and was most recently a pizza retailer. Several investigations had been conducted at the site to define the extent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the soil and groundwater.

Environmental issues and the cleanup process

  • The dry cleaning solvent tetrachloroethylene (PCE) was detected in the soil at a concentration greater than the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) Soil Leaching Value (SLV) and in the groundwater at a concentration above the Health Risk Limits established by the Minnesota Department of Health.
  • Other chlorinated and non-chlorinated VOCs were also detected in the soil and groundwater; some PCE breakdown products were detected at concentrations above the SLVs.
  • Underground and overhead utility lines in the alley corridor posed difficulties in the site investigation and cleanup.

Redevelopment of the site

  • An Environmental Review was completed with the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board in order to negotiate redevelopment.
  • Approximately 1,500 cubic yards of impacted soil was removed and disposed of off-site at a permitted landfill.

Environmental and economic benefits

  • Contaminant source soils removed to diminish the groundwater and vapor pathway migration potential.
  • Underutilized historic building area, with separate building and adjoining subsurface contamination has been redeveloped for regular commercial/retail use.
  • Historic downtown bank building is revitalized through upgraded customer parking facilities.

Assurances received

  • August 25, 2003 – No Association Determination to Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFG)
  • September 8, 2006 – Retroactive No Association Determination to MFG
  • April 19, 2007 - Certificate of Completion to MFG for soil response actions completed

Project partners

  • Stanley M. Hardt Family Trust
  • Merchants National Bank NA and subsidiaries
  • MPCA Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup staff: Ed Olson, Project Manager; Jennifer Haas, Hydrogeologist
  • Braun Intertec Corporation and Liesch Associates