U.S. to finance arsenic cleanup in Minneapolis neighborhoods

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 12, 2008 - 10:58 PM

Nearly $18 million from the Superfund will be used to replace lawns contaminated by dust from pesticide plant.

Federal regulators have chosen a $17.9 million plan to clean up soil on hundreds of properties tainted with arsenic that blew around several south Minneapolis neighborhoods after it was left behind by a pesticide facility.

The project is the latest stage of a cleanup of contamination traced to the CMC Heartland Lite Yard pesticide production and storage plant that operated from 1938 to 1968 near E. 28th Street and Hiawatha Avenue S. A pesticide containing arsenic was produced there and material from an "open-air railcar-unloading and product-mixing operation is believed to have been wind-blown into nearby neighborhoods," the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday.

As part of the project, several informational meetings will be held in October to discuss the next steps toward removing the shallow soil with arsenic levels higher than 25 parts per million.

Once contaminated soil is removed, the EPA will fill in the yards with clean soil and restore any disturbed landscaping.

Since 2004, the EPA has collected soil samples from more than 3,000 properties in parts of several neighborhoods within a ¾-mile radius of the former plant.

By the end of this year, contractors will have removed contaminated soil from about 200 yards with the highest concentrations of arsenic, and replaced it with new soil and landscaping.

During the next phase, workers will do the same on yards that have lesser amounts of arsenic but are still a potential health risk. That will include 411 lawns that were not previously replaced, and 77 other properties that had some cleanup but need additional soil removed, according to an EPA spokesman.

Homeowners have to give permission for the cleanup, which will be paid for entirely by the federal Superfund.

PAUL WALSH

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