SOUTH MINNEAPOLIS RESIDENTIAL SOIL CONTAMINATION
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The South Minneapolis Residential Soil Contamination ("South Minn") site is located in the city of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota. The site covers an area of approximately 1,480 acres. While the area is largely residential, it also contains commercial, industrial, and municipal properties.
The South Minn site is located in close proximity to a former pesticide manufacturing plant, which was located at the northwest corner of Hiawatha Avenue and 28th Street on the eastern edge of the Phillips neighborhood. The pesticide plant property made arsenic and/or lead arsenate-based grasshopper pesticides from 1938 through 1963. From 1963 through 1968, U.S. Borax sub-leased the parcel and stored and shipped pesticide products during that time. It is believed that during plant operations, the powder-like arsenic trioxide was periodically blown by the wind off site into the into the historic Phillips, Longfellow and Powderhorn neighborhoods in south Minneapolis, which resulted in contaminated soils.
The property where the former pesticide plant was located changed ownership over the years, and eventually became the CMC Heartland Partners Lite Yard. High levels of arsenic were found in soil and ground water at the site in 1994, during a project to rebuild the Hiawatha Avenue corridor. State health and environmental officials determined the contamination came from the CMC Heartland Partners Lite Yard.
In September 2007, EPA added the South Minneapolis Residential Soil Contamination Site to its National Priorities List. The cleanup’s final phase ran from 2009 to 2011. In this phase, ARRA funds helped EPA finish its work ahead of schedule and make the South Minneapolis area safer for residents.
It was the $20 million in ARRA funds that helped EPA complete the residential cleanup a year ahead of schedule. EPA used ARRA and other funds to clean up more than 600 properties with unsafe levels of arsenic. EPA removed over 50,000 tons of contaminated soil.
The CMC Heartland Partners Lite Yard site property has been investigated and it was cleaned up by CMC Heartland Partners in 2004 and 2005 under the oversight of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and other state authorities. The property is now in re-use by a light industrial/commercial facility.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
Between 2004 and the fall of 2008, EPA conducted soil excavation and off-site disposal as part of an emergency cleanup at 196 properties. These properties had arsenic levels above the removal action level, which is a level of contamination so high that it requires a quicker cleanup due to short-term health risks to residents.
The site’s long-term cleanup plan, selected by EPA in 2008, addressed about 500 more properties. While arsenic levels at these properties were not immediately dangerous, the levels present still posed a long-term health threat to the residents.
The cleanup’s final phase ran from 2009 to 2011. American Revitalization and Recovery Act (ARRA) funding helped EPA complete the residential cleanups a year ahead of schedule. EPA used ARRA and other funds to clean up more than 600 properties with unsafe levels of arsenic. EPA removed over 50,000 tons of contaminated soil.
What Is the Current Site Status?
Cleanup work ended in September 2011. More than 600 properties were excavated and restored. Owners of the remaining contaminated properties either chose not to have the cleanup conducted or did not respond to EPA requests for access, which were made over a number of years and in multiple languages. Properties which had the cleanup conducted are available for unlimited use and unrestricted exposure.
Property owners are required by City of Minneapolis Code of Ordinances Section 248.30(a)(5) to disclose to potential buyers environmental testing performed on the property by or under the direction of EPA or other governmental agencies. For properties where cleanup was needed, but for which access was not granted, the city of Minneapolis has assured that rental property permits will not be issued. EPA expects these measures will encourage the property owners to perform the necessary cleanup, at their own expense, when they wish to sell the property or attain a rental permit.
As of fall 2017, EPA is conducting the second five-year review of the site’s remedy and plans to complete it in 2019. These reviews ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment, and function as intended by site decision documents. Please visit the “Stay Updated, Get Involved” section for information on how to give EPA feedback on site conditions or concerns.