The pollution that lies beneath

  • September 15, 2007 - 5:06 PM


Location: Edina, Hopkins, St. Louis Park

Pollutant: Vinyl chloride

Description: Edina shut down a city well in 2003 after the chemical was detected. Plume covers an 8.8-square-mile-area; part of it is under a former wood-treatment site (2), however the source of vinyl chloride is unknown.

Reilly Tar & Chemical plume

Location: St. Louis Park, Hopkins

Pollutants: PAHs

Description: Chemicals from a wood preservative plant (1917-1972) have required carbon filtration since 1986 at two affected city wells. Plume is stable. Site is now a park.

South Minneapolis arsenic site

Location: Minneapolis

Pollutant: Arsenic

Description: Former pesticide operations (1938-1968) left arsenic in a 23-acre area of groundwater. Soil was contaminated over a broader area.

Shoreham Yard -- west plume

Location: Minneapolis

Pollutant: PCP

Description: Wood tie treatment (1915-1972) at Soo Line rail yard contaminated groundwater over a 70-block area.

Shoreham Yard -- east plume

Location: Minneapolis

Pollutants: VOCs

Description: Degreasers and solvents from roundhouse and former chemical distribution center created this pollution plume.

Fridley ordnance plant plumes

Location: Fridley

Pollutant: TCE

Description: Two stable chemical plumes at a Navy munitions plant on the Mississippi River no longer threaten the Minneapolis water supply.

Blaine groundwater plume

Location: Blaine

Pollutant: DCA

Description: Industrial chemical from an unknown source affects groundwater beneath 1½ square miles. City treats water from affected wells.

East Bethel Landfill plume

Location: East Bethel

Pollutants: VOCs, other chemicals

Description: Groundwater near closed landfill is constantly extracted so the small pollution plume won't grow.

Army ammunition plant plume

Location: Arden Hills, New Brighton, Columbia Heights, Fridley, Mounds View, St. Anthony, Minneapolis

Pollutant: TCE

Description: Two suburbs must filter water from this 8-square-mile plume containing solvents from a former munitions plant in Arden Hills (1941-1975).

Wood treatment plume

Location: New Brighton

Pollutants: PCP, other chemicals

Description: Shallow groundwater near the closed MacGillis & Gibbs plant is extracted and treated to remove wood-preserving chemicals.

Hwy. 96/

North Oaks plume

Location: North Oaks, White Bear Township

Pollutant: Vinyl chloride

Description: Contamination from a dump on Hwy. 96 (1920s-1974) has migrated under a Gilfillan Lake in North Oaks, affecting some residents' wells.

Baytown Township TCE plume

Location: Bayport, Baytown and West Lakeland townships, Lake Elmo

Pollutant: TCE

Description: Solvents from an equipment maker (1940-1968) affected groundwater under 11 square miles; 160 home wells require filters.

Lakeland groundwater plumes

Location: Lakeland, Lakeland Shores, Afton

Pollutants: VOCs, BTEX

Description: Chemicals in about 100 private wells prompted construction of a municipal water supply in 1991. Two groundwater plumes are believed stable, with chemical levels dropping.

Note: Shaded area shows where well restrictions apply; chemical plume not mapped.

3M Oakdale dump plume

Location: Oakdale and nearby areas

Pollutants: PFCs, VOCs

Description: Waste dump used by 3M (1956-1960) is one of three sources of PFCs in vicinity. Chemicals have spread to the south.

County landfill plume

Location: Lake Elmo and nearby areas

Pollutants: PFCs, VOCs

Description: Closed public landfill (1969-1975) accepted wastes from many sources, including 3M; affects groundwater to south and east.

3M Woodbury dump plume

Location: Woodbury and nearby areas

Pollutants: PFCs, VOCs

Description: Large areas of PFC-contaminated groundwater lie south and west of this 3M dump (1960-1966)

Note: The PFBA contamination is also beneath Afton, Cottage Grove, Denmark Township, Grey Cloud Island Township, Hastings, Landfall, Maplewood, Newport, St. Paul Park and South St. Paul.


Location: St. Paul Park.

Pollutants: PCP, petroleum

Description: Small plume near Mississippi River from a former wood treating business and a refinery now owned by Marathon Oil Co.

Pine Bend Landfill

Location: Inver Grove Heights

Pollutants: VOCs

Description: Small, stable plume in shallow groundwater near Mississippi River.

Flint Hills Refinery plume

Location: Rosemount

Pollutants: BTEX

Description: Plume of pollution from refinery extends 1.5 miles to Mississippi River; 4.1 million gallons of wastes removed so far.

Farmington plume

Location: Farmington

Pollutant: PCE

Description: Narrow plume of groundwater tainted with dry-cleaner chemicals migrating toward Vermillion River, a trout stream.

Pockets of chemical-laden water percolate beneath the metro area. These 20 plumes of pollution are the legacy of decades of industrial waste disposal by private companies and government. Some communities now use special filtration for every drop of drinking water.

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