On this page:
- What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- EPA’s Involvement at the Site
- Activity and Use Limitations
- Sampling and Monitoring
- Operable Units (opens new page)
- Cleanup Progress (opens new page)
The 7.5-acre Whittaker Corp. site is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A variety of industrial activities has taken place on site since the 1940s, including activities by the Americal Petroleum Corporation. Until 1980, the Whittaker Corporation produced industrial coatings and resins. Chemicals were stored in above ground and underground tanks. Operations and waste disposal practices contaminated soil and groundwater with hazardous chemicals. Following cleanup, EPA took the site off the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1999.
What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
The site was cleaned up through State of Minnesota actions. The site was part of the MPCA Enforcement Deferral Pilot Project approved by EPA.
EPA and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) have conducted a five-year review of the site’s remedy. These reviews ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment, and function as intended by site decision documents. The review concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedy selected and that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment in the short term. Continued protectiveness of the remedy required additional groundwater monitoring. Subsequent monitoring results indicated that the site was ready for deletion from the NPL. No additional five-year reviews are required.
What Is the Current Site Status?
The site’s long-term remedy included disposal of soil, drums and tanks, and operation of a groundwater extraction and treatment system. Construction of the remedy took place between 1983 and 1985. The groundwater extraction system operated until 1994. EPA took the site off the NPL in 1999.
EPA’s Involvement at the Site
Cleanup of this site was managed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). A completed Phase I Report was submitted to MPCA in 1983 and a groundwater investigation was initiated. Monitoring wells were installed and groundwater samples were analyzed and found to contain several chlorinated solvents, benzene, cadmium, and chromium. The Whittaker Corporation conducted soil, drum and tank removals from 1983 to 1985.
MPCA issued a request for response action in 1985. In response, Whittaker Corporation removed approximately 600 damaged drums, excavated 10,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil, and installed a groundwater pumping system and two air strippers. The groundwater pumping and treatment system operated from 1985 until 1994.
In 1998, under MPCA oversight, Whittaker Corp completed a soil and groundwater investigation to determine whether the site had been cleaned up to an acceptable level to protect human health and the environment. MPCA determined that all results were below specified cleanup goals. The site was deleted from the National Priorities List in 1999.
Activity and Use Limitations
At this site, activity and use limitations that EPA calls institutional controls are in place. Institutional controls play an important role in site remedies because they reduce exposure to contamination by limiting land or resource use. They also guide human behavior. For instance, zoning restrictions prevent land uses – such as residential uses – that are not consistent with the level of cleanup.
For more background, see Institutional Controls.
Groundwater and soil were found to be contaminated with heavy metals, including cadmium and lead as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Sampling and Monitoring
During cleanup, a site can be divided into a number of distinct areas depending on its complexity. These areas, called operable units (OUs), may address geographic areas, specific problems, or areas where a specific action is required. Examples of typical operable units include construction of a groundwater pump and treatment system or construction of a cap over a landfill.