Tracy Minnesota Lead Site

Tracy-MN-Lead-site-350The city of Tracy (population 2,163) is located in Lyon County in southwestern Minnesota. Tracy was a highly active rail hub for the Chicago and Northwestern railroad. The surrounding area is dominated by agricultural activity. The Tracy Lead Battery Site is located at 361 South 4th Street, 380 South 4th Street and the former Central Livestock yard in Tracy, Minnesota. In 2004, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup (VIC) Program was contacted by the city of Tracy regarding reports of soil contamination at the property. The MPCA used 128(a) targeted assessment money provided by Region V EPA to hire STS Consultants to conduct a Phase I of the properties for the city of Tracy.


361 South 4th St. Parcel History - The Phase I indicated that a former owner of the 361 South 4th Street property operated a battery crushing operation on that property for a period of approximately 25 years until the death of the owner in 1970. A walkover of the site for the Phase I report indicated that battery casings, metals and debris were piled and scattered at the site. A residential home was observed on the property that was used for storage.

380 South 4th St. Parcel History - The 380 South 4th Street property was also used for battery crushing in addition to being a salvage yard from the 1960’s until the 1980’s. A residential building was present on the property that was occupied by a Hmong family. The property contained a vegetable garden where the residents grew vegetables for consumption. The family did not speak English so a language translator was contacted to provide the residents with information relating to the environmental issues at the site.

Central Livestock Parcel History - The northern portion of the former Central Livestock property also showed indications of battery recycling operations and contained numerous battery casing chips and battery debris.

Environmental issues

In 2007, the MPCA used EPA 128(a) assessment grant money to perform Phase II Environmental Investigations on the parcels. The MPCA hired STS Consultants to conduct the Phase II environmental investigation on the 380 South 4th Street property and on the Central Livestock parcel and Delta Environmental Consultants to conduct the Phase II environmental investigation on the 361 South 4th Street property.

  • Battery casing chips were observed on the three properties including the residential lot and the vegetable gardens.
  • Very high concentrations of lead in soils were found to be widespread on all three properties based on the soil sampling. Lead concentrations were as high as 24,700 mg/kg with many soil samples containing hazardous levels of lead.
  • Due to the residential occupation of one of the properties, intermittent use of another residential structure and open access to the property to residents of Tracy, a determination was made that an eminent threat to human health existed on the properties.

The Cleanup Process – Region V EPA Comes to the Rescue

  • In June of 2007, the MPCA contacted Region V EPA to inform them of the situation and to request assistance in the form of an emergency removal action of lead impacted soil from the site.
  • An Action Memorandum (Action Memo) indicating the need to perform a time-critical removal action was approved on August 5, 2007.
  • In April 2008, EPA Region V started a time-critical removal at the site to address lead impacted soil.
  • The Removal Action carried out by EPA and Weston Solutions included mobilization to the site; excavation; treatment (with SulphiTech binding agent) and removal of lead impacted soils; transportation and disposal of impacted soil; backfill of excavated areas with clean soils; site restoration and demobilization.
  • A total of 20,187 tons of lead impacted soil were excavated and disposed offsite and a total of 12,560 cubic yards of clean fill was backfilled into the excavations.
  • The Removal Action was completed on July 17, 2009, and was performed during the course of two summer seasons.
  • The site was restored by replacing grass, trees, concrete and asphalt areas including sidewalks.

Redevelopment of the Site

  • No additional redevelopment has occurred on the three properties.
  • Currently there are residential occupants in the residence on the 380 South 4th Street parcel.
  • The home located on the 361 South 4th Street parcel has been removed.

Environmental and Economic Benefits

The cleanup eliminated immediate exposure to lead impacted soil for site residents and for members of the Tracy community.

Project partners

  • The City of Tracy, Minnesota
  • Region V EPA Brownfield’s provided 128(a) funds to the MPCA for property assessment
  • Region V EPA Emergency Response funded the soil cleanup
  • Region V EPA staff on-site coordinator Mr. Fred Micke managed the soil cleanup working with Weston Solutions
  • STS, Delta and Peer Engineering consulting firms were contracted by MPCA for site assessments
  • MPCA VIC staff John Betcher – Project Hydrogeologist and Emily Hanson - Risk Assessor