Fridley air quality and Superfund sites

This webpage provides the most current information in response to concerns by residents of Fridley about possible factors contributing to the increased cancer incidence in that city, as reported by the Minnesota Department of Health: PDF icon Community concerns about cancer in Fridley & Anoka County, Minnesota (MDH)

Status of Superfund sites in Fridley

Routine monitoring required and overseen by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at the federal and state Superfund sites and the one Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) site in Fridley indicates there are no known human health exposures at these sites from contaminated soils, vapor and groundwater.

Select a site from the list below to learn more about it.

Superfund sites in Fridley

  • Contamination discovered: 1981
  • Regulatory status: RCRA corrective action; state lead.
  • Current status: Open; groundwater is being monitored, deed restriction on property.
  • Main contaminant and source: Trichloroethylene (TCE) from former paint shop in the southeast corner of the building.
  • Current status of soils: Soil impacts have been identified in the source area.
  • Current  status of groundwater: Plume of contaminated groundwater beneath building is being monitored.
  • Current status of vapors: No vapor-associated risks to Fridley residents have been identified.
  • Current status of surface water: There are no impacts above standards to the Mississippi River.
  • Current activities: Groundwater is being monitored annually.
  • Future activities: Further delineate the groundwater contamination source area under the building and evaluate further treatment options.

For more information:

  • Contamination discovered: 1979
  • Regulatory status: Federal and state Superfund (state lead)
  • Current status: Open; groundwater is being monitored; deed restrictions on property.
  • Main contaminant and source: Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and pentachlorophenol (PCP) from wood-treating operations.
  • Current status of soils: In the 1980s, contaminated soils on Medtronics parcel were excavated and taken off site, and contaminated soils on Onan's parcel were excavated and placed in a vault on the site. Additional contaminated soils encountered during the development of the Onan parcel have been removed from the site or have been consolidated and capped.
  • Current status of groundwater: Meets drinking water standards. The plume is not migrating off site.
  • Current status of vapors: No risks to Fridley residents have been identified.
  • Current status of surface water: There have been no impacts above standards to Rice Creek.
  • Current activities: Groundwater has been monitored for PAHs and PCP since the mid-1980s and continues to be monitored annually.
  • Future activities: Continue groundwater monitoring. Test groundwater to ensure aquatic standards are being met for Rice Creek. Oversee environmental issues related to future redevelopment of the site.

For more information:

  • Contamination discovered: 1988
  • Regulatory status: State Superfund.
  • Current status: Open. Groundwater monitoring is underway. There is a deed restriction on this property.
  • Main contaminant and source: Trichloroethylene (TCE) from industrial manufacturing.
  • Current status of soils: No soil contamination has been identified.
  • Current status of groundwater: The plume of contaminated groundwater is on and off site.
  • Current status of vapors: No vapor-associated risks to Fridley residents have been identified.
  • Current status of surface water: The plume does not reach the Mississippi River.
  • Current activities: Groundwater is monitored annually.
  • Future activities: Continue groundwater monitoring. Additional enhancements of cleanup options are being evaluated to address the plume.

For more information:

  • Contamination discovered: 1980
  • Regulatory status: Federal and state Superfund (state lead).
  • Current status: Open.
  • Main contaminant and source: Trichloroethylene (TCE) from defense manufacturing.
  • Current status of soils: Contaminated soils were excavated and placed in a vault on site.
  • Current status of groundwater: There is contaminated groundwater on and off site.
  • Current status of vapors: No vapor-related risks to Fridley residents have been identified.
  • Current status of surface water: There are no impacts above standards to the Mississippi River.
  • Current activities: Contaminated groundwater is being extracted and treated, then disposed of in the storm sewer under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. Groundwater is monitored semiannually.
  • Future activities: Conduct an enhanced bioremediation pilot study the evaluates the feasibility of using microorganisms to speed cleanup of the plume.

For more information:

  • Contamination discovered: 1981
  • Regulatory status: Federal and state Superfund (state lead)
  • Current status: This site has been closed and delisted from the Permanent List of Priorities (state Superfund list) by the state; the site is still on the National Priorities List (federal Superfund list).
  • Main contaminant and source: Trichloroethylene (TCE) from unknown source(s)
  • Current status of soils: No contamination has been identified.
  • Current status of groundwater: Contamination is below drinking water standards.
  • Current status of vapors: No risks to Fridley residents have been identified.
  • Current status of surface water: Not applicable.
  • Current activities: The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is monitoring the groundwater as required by drinking water-protection regulations.
  • Future activities: MDH monitoring of groundwater will continue as required by drinking water-protection rules.

For more information:

  • Contamination discovered: 1982.
  • Regulatory status: Federal and state Superfund (federal lead).
  • Current status: Open; there is a deed restriction on this property.
  • Main contaminant and source: Tetrachloroethene (also known as perchloroethene, or PCE) from industrial manufacturing
  • Current status of soils: Accessible contaminated soils were excavated and disposed of off site; some contaminated soils remain under the building.
  • Current status of groundwater: There is contaminated groundwater on and off site.
  • Current status of vapors: No vapor-associated risks to Fridley residents have been identified.
  • Current status of surface water: The plume does not reach the Mississippi River.
  • Current activities: Contaminated groundwater is being extracted and treated, then disposed of in the sanitary sewer under a Metropolitan Council Environmental Services permit. Groundwater is monitored semiannually. Soil vapor is being extracted and discharged from the soil vapor extraction system under an MPCA air quality permit.
  • Future activities: Continue remediation and monitoring and determine whether additional remedies are needed.

For more information:

  • Contamination discovered: 1981.
  • Regulatory status: Federal and state Superfund (federal lead)
  • Current status: Open. There is a deed restriction on the property.
  • Main contaminant and source: Trichloroethylene (TCE) from defense industrial manufacturing.
  • Current status of soils: 2,200 cubic yards of contaminated soils have been excavated and removed. Some contaminated soils remain under the building.
  • Current contamination status of groundwater: Contaminated groundwater is present on and off site.
  • Current status of vapors: No risks to Fridley residents have been identified.
  • Current status of surface water: There are no impacts above surface water standards to the Mississippi River.
  • Current activities: Contaminated groundwater is being extracted, treated and discharged to the Mississippi River under an NPDES permit from MPCA. Three new extraction wells were brought on line in early 2012. The core plume is monitored quarterly and the rest annually.
  • Future activities: Conduct additional source delineation under the building and explore the potential for remediation.

For more information:

 

Fridley area Superfund and RCRA site locations

Although it is not in Fridley, persons interested in the New Brighton/Arden Hills Superfund site (Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant or TCAAP) are directed to the following resources:

Fridley air quality

The MPCA is responsible for monitoring air quality in Minnesota to ensure that it complies with federal and state standards and benchmarks.

Local governments do not have a specific responsibility for air quality monitoring. The MPCA has assisted cities or counties that wanted to monitor air quality for specific local concerns, such as a unique or large facility in the city or county.

How does the MPCA decide where to place its air monitors?

The MPCA uses federal guidance to determine where to place air monitors. The factors the MPCA looks at include population density, land use, where we expect to see the highest levels of air pollution, where we expect to see a general background for an area, and the potential impacts from large sources of air pollution.

Once it has identified a location to monitor, the MPCA deploys instruments that will collect data for at least a year and, in most cases, many years. These instruments either can take instantaneous measurements at the site or they collect a sample that is analyzed at the MPCA's air quality lab. After ensuring the data are of high quality, the MPCA analyzes the data to compare to federal or state standards and benchmarks.

The MPCA analyzes data annually as well as over many years to understand Minnesota's air quality. And every two years, the agency publishes an Air Quality Legislative Report.

The MPCA also publishes an annual Air Monitoring Network Plan. The plan provides information on each monitoring site and includes a summary of monitoring results from the previous year.  MPCA air monitoring data can also be accessed through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) AirData website.

The MPCA is working on a project to improve the way the agency’s air monitoring data are provided to the public on its website.

Where are the air-monitoring locations closest to Fridley?

The MPCA does not have an air-quality monitor in Fridley. It would be prohibitively expensive to have air-quality monitors in every city in the Twin Cities metro area.

In the metro area, the agency’s monitors are located in:

  • Apple Valley
  • Bayport
  • Blaine
  • Eagan
  • Minneapolis
  • Richfield
  • Rosemount (Flint Hills Resources refinery)
  • St. Louis Park
  • St. Paul
  • St. Paul Park (St. Paul Park Refining Company)
  • Shakopee

The MPCA’s Annual Air Monitoring Network Plan has a list of all air-monitoring sites in Minnesota.

The MPCA air monitoring site closest to Fridley is at the Anoka County Airport in Blaine. This is a suburban site with a low air traffic volume located in an area with a mix of residential, office parks, commercial, light industrial and recreational use.

Another air monitoring site nearby is at 4646 N. Humboldt Ave. in north Minneapolis. This site is in an area that includes a mix of land uses, including truck terminals, railyards and manufacturing facilities to the west and northwest and residential neighborhoods to the north, east and south.

Fridley’s air quality is similar to that of other suburbs near the I-494/I-694 loop

When we look at both monitoring data and modeled data, we see that Fridley's air quality is similar to that of other suburbs near the I-494/I-694 loop and slightly better than what we see in the core cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, near I-94/I-35W and I-94/I-35E. The MPCA has not seen air pollutant levels above a federal or state standard at either the airport in Blaine or at the north Minneapolis monitoring site.

Fine particles, known as PM2.5 because they are less than 2.5 microns in diameter, is the air pollutant the MPCA is most closely watching because the Twin Cities are closest to the federal standard for this pollutant. High levels of fine particles exasperate existing cardiac problems and respiratory problems, such as asthma. Some evidence suggests that exposure to fine particles may cause lung cancer.

For air pollutants that are linked to cancer, the MPCA is focusing its efforts on sources that are not subject to MPCA’s traditional permitting programs, especially gasoline and diesel vehicles, diesel backup generators, residential wood smoke and backyard garbage burning. Again, MPCA modeling for these sources shows that Fridley’s air quality is no different than that of other suburbs near the I-494/I-694 loop.

We have not seen any monitoring or modeling data that indicate that air pollution in or near Fridley is suspiciously different from that of other Twin Cities suburbs.

What about pollution from vehicles on I-694?

Interstate Highway 694 through Fridley ranks only thirteenth in the Twin Cities metro area in terms of the Annual Average Daily Traffic Count. The I-94 corridor between Minneapolis and St. Paul and the I-35 corridor through the Twin Cities have, on average, the highest daily traffic counts. Traffic counts give us a sense of the relative size of emission sources on a roadway.

Traffic-related pollution emissions are most concentrated within 1,500 feet (0.3 mile) of a roadway, and the concentration decreases as the distance from the roadway increases. This relationship is dependent on the airflow within a roadway, the amount of traffic, and whether there are obstructions, such as a noise wall or vegetation, along the roadway.

For more information

For more information about air quality in Fridley, contact MPCA air quality project manager Frank Kohlasch: 651-757-2500 or email frank.kohlasch@state.mn.us