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Sometimes projects are in full swing before a problem is found. When Edina began removing the old Edina Realty building near 50th Street and France Avenue last year, which it bought for possible parking expansion, it discovered a buried tank that no one knew about. The tank was still full of dry cleaning fluid, a hazardous waste, apparently from the 1970s.
Multiple environmental studies had been done on the site in recent years, but the tank went unnoticed despite two rounds of subsurface testing, said Bill Neuendorf, Edina’s economic development manager. The tank was discovered only after the building was demolished and crews began removing the concrete floor and foundation.
Two months of delay followed. The dry cleaning fluid was pumped out, the tank was removed and about 16 feet of soil had to be removed before the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency was convinced the site was clean, Neuendorf said.
The work cost $75,000 to $100,000. He said the extra costs will be paid for with escrow money that was withheld at closing when the city bought the building.
Not all soil issues are so complicated. At Braemar, where hockey players are eager to have the covered outdoor rink available for next winter, the concrete chunks and slabs that were buried decades ago were deposited in an organized fashion and will be left there, city officials say.
Kolias said that 5 feet of soil above the debris will be removed and the dirt 5 feet down will be compacted to create a firm bridge over the debris. The soil that was removed will be mixed with other good fill and compacted again.
“This building type doesn’t need deep foundations,” he said. “It would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to [remove the debris.] … We’ll reuse everything that’s there and create a firmer base for the structure.”
The debris issue, combined with other complications, is expected to push back the opening of the Braemar rink and other improvements to December, a month later than scheduled.
Mary Jane Smetanka • 612-673-7380