UMore Park/Former Gopher Ordnance Works (SR374)

UMore Park/Former Gopher Ordnance Works is an approximately 8,000-acre piece of property located in portion of the city of Rosemount and Empire Township in Dakota County. The site is currently owned by the University of Minnesota.

The U of M has long-term plans to develop this property and is in the process of conducting a Remedial Investigation (RI) that will collect the information needed to identify and assess potential risks to human health and the environment associated with historical uses of the property. The RI will also be used to identify cleanup alternatives to address any unacceptable chemical risks that are present.

The MPCA oversees this investigation and any cleanup activities that result from it.

UMore Park/Former Gopher Ordnance Works map

Site history

In 1942 and 1943, the U.S. Department of War acquired about 12,000 acres of farmland in Dakota County to build a smokeless gunpowder plant. The portion of the plant operated briefly from November 1944 until October 1945.

After the war, the federal government declared this parcel of land to be surplus property, demolished most of the buildings, and transferred approximately 8,000 acres and the remaining buildings and infrastructure to the University.

Since acquiring the property, the U of M has used it for agricultural and other research purposes and has also leased some parcels to agricultural and commercial tenants.

Investigation and cleanup

Investigation and cleanup at parts of this site date back to the mid-1980s. These include areas near buildings where chemicals were manufactured, burn pits where off-spec materials were disposed of, the facility’s wastewater treatment plant and various other spots. About 10 acres of the Site has been separately managed through the U.S. EPA National Priorities List (University of Minnesota Rosemount Research Center sites: George’s Used Equipment; Porter Machine and Electric Co.; US Transformer: and a burn pit operated by the University). The U of M, the MPCA and local officials are now looking for a more complete understanding of environmental concerns on the property.

This 2016 supplemental RI will investigate 10 areas where known or potential releases have been identified through past environmental studies. New studies of these areas were also recommended by the Minnesota Department of Health based on a Public Health Assessment presented to the public for comments in September 2014.

The findings of this latest study will be the basis of a Final Remedial Investigation Report, which will be made available for public review in early 2017. The findings will then be used to identify and assess potential cleanup activities to address the identified releases, consistent with the current and planned future uses of the property.

Current schedule

  • May 23, 2017 — Public meeting to present the RI Report
  • March 2017 — Draft RI Report to be submitted to MPCA
  • October 2016 — Stage 2 field work ends
  • September 2016 — Supplemental FSP approved by MPCA
  • August 2016 — Supplemental FSP for Stage 2 field work submitted to MPCA
  • June 2016 — MPCA approves project documents and Stage 1 field work begins
  • May 12, 2016 — End of 30-day comment period on RI Project Documents
  • April 26, 2016 — Public Meeting with RI Work Plan presentation
  • April 11, 2016 —Start of 30-day comment period of RI project documents


Links to more information