There are many reasons why the Minneapolis city impound lot west of downtown might be considered notorious, but as of last week, being a state Superfund site is no longer one of them.
After nearly 30 years of city cleanup efforts and other improvements at the Colfax Avenue N. site, it was removed from the state list by a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Citizens’ Board vote.
Eight other sites, however, were added to the list, bringing the total to 82, said Sam Brungardt, MPCA public information officer.
The new sites include two in the Twin Cities: the former Precision Plating Inc. site at 230 Girard Av. N. in Minneapolis, which was tainted by trichloroethylene (TCE) and other compounds, and the cities of Lakeland and Lakeland Shores in Washington County, which had been removed from the list in 2000 when TCE was found in groundwater. The TCE, however, is now cause for new concern.
The Minneapolis impound lot, known as the Bassett Creek/Irving Avenue dump site, was added to the state Superfund list in 1986. The Minneapolis Public Works Department has been cleaning the site, used before the 1960s as an old dump, since the 1980s, removing an array of contaminants, according to the agency. Most of the site is covered with protective asphalt and the top 4 feet of soil in unpaved areas now meets MPCA standards, the agency said.
The Precision Plating site, located in a mixed commercial and residential area, was added to the list because chemicals found in nearby groundwater pose a risk to Bassett Creek, which flows into the Mississippi River. They include chemicals and cyanide used in the plating process before operations at the site ceased in 2003 and the building was sold a year later.
The listings of Lakeland and Lakeland Shores were prompted in part by a lowering of the standard of risk set last year by the Minnesota Department of Health for TCE. New research prompted the change — from 5 parts per billion to 0.4 parts per billion — which meant more residential wells were affected.
Sites on the state Superfund list will receive funding to identify groundwater contamination, monitor wells and provide safe water to residents.