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Continued: State alerts Mpls. neighborhood about underground vapors

Kelly likened the situation to a discovery of TCE and perchlorethylene (PCE) in a St. Louis Park neighborhood of 270 properties in 2007. No imminent health risks were found, but remediation systems were installed in 41 homes.

Reaction in the Como area was guarded Thursday.

“I’ll just wait to see what happens,” resident Mike Portwood said. “I’d like to do a little research before I jump on the paranoia wagon.”

Business owner Laura Curran said she didn’t know about the neighborhood’s history with General Mills or TCE. Her salon at Rollins and 15th Avenues SE. is at the corner of the testing area.

“Whatever the test says, we’ll deal with that,” she said. “As long as they don’t have to knock down my building.”

General Mills used the 6.5-acre site at 2010 E. Hennepin Av. as a technical center and laboratory for food research beginning in 1930, adding chemical research operations in 1947, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Disposal of solvents started on the south end of the property in 1947 and continued until 1962.

“This was the state of understanding at that time, that waste solvents, if you put them in a hole, they would go away. They would go to this place called away,” Neve said. “We learned decades later that there is no place called away.”

Discovery of the contamination occurred in 1981 after the 1977 sale of the site to Henkel Corp., a Connecticut-based producer of laundry, home and beauty care products.

General Mills’ cleanup efforts included the removal of contaminated soil on the property and groundwater testing in the neighborhood.

 

Staff writer Paul Walsh contributed to this report.

jeremy.olson@startribune.com • 612-673-7744

mckinney@startribune.com • 612-673-7329

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