Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Vikings stadium site may still need costly cleanup

If a 430-acre site in Arden Hills becomes the new home of the Minnesota Vikings, its stands of long grass and blossoming trees will be transformed into a vast expanse of parking lots and plazas -- perfect for the pre- and post-game partying fans adore.

That vision helps explain why Vikings owner Zygi Wilf chose Arden Hills over the less expensive Metrodome site.

But what many fans might not realize as they don their purple jerseys and break out the brats is that they'd be tailgating on what was one of the most-polluted pieces of ground in Minnesota.

The site is contaminated with mercury, lead, solvents, PCBs and other hazardous substances from its days as a U.S. Army munitions plant. And though the Army has spent some $200 million to clean up the worst of the contamination, officials at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency say a stadium development would probably need further cleanup before the land would be safe for the public.

Rolled into the $1 billion public-private bid for the facility is an estimated $18 million to finish cleaning up the hazardous materials. But officials acknowledge that is a bit of a guesstimate until developers undertake a new round of soil tests. "There have been a lot of holes drilled, but we don't know everything at this moment," said Greg Mack, Ramsey County's director of Parks and Recreation and the county's expert on the site.

Nevertheless, key players remain confident.

"That's a risk on the project," said Ted Mondale, Minnesota sports facilities commissioner. "But I have researched this and have every reason to believe that the [$18 million] number is right."

Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett said in an e-mail: "If the Vikings end up in Arden Hills, we will have cleaned up a Superfund site and an eyesore."

They have some reason for confidence: Minnesota already has cleaned up and developed hundreds of regulated pollution sites -- including the land where Target Field and TCF Bank Stadium stand today.

Partial cleanup

The Arden Hills site, which continues to be the focus of offstage negotiations at the Capitol, is one of the last large empty tracts in the Twin Cities. It has remained undeveloped for a reason: It's part of a Superfund site; it was polluted enough to win a spot on the federal government's priority list of legally supervised cleanups. It's been on the list for decades, a designation that has derailed a dozen development plans, most recently in 2009.

The source of pollution was an ammunition manufacturing facility that once employed 26,000 workers who made armaments for soldiers from World War II through the Vietnam war. Over 40 years, the land became contaminated with various chemicals in various spots.

The Army has cleaned up the worst of it, following an agreement in the 1980s with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state pollution officials.

The biggest problem was polluted water. The Army installed a groundwater treatment system on the site and local municipalities have installed treatment systems to protect drinking water for nearby residents.

Much of the ground was polluted because the munitions facility dumped manufacturing residue on the site, said Mike Fix, the U.S. Army representative who manages the land. Most of the contaminated soil has been hauled away to hazardous-material landfills, he said.

Today "we don't think there is a lot there," he said.

Nonetheless, it's not ready for the tens of thousands of fans and tailgaters who could be exposed to contaminants at each game.

The Army was required to get the property up to a level that would be safe for industrial use. That, said officials with the Pollution Control Agency (PCA), is a pretty low standard.

"We allowed a higher level of contamination to remain on the property," said Amy Hadiaris, a hydrogeologist with the PCA. "If the property is bought by someone else for development with more access by the public, we would require additional cleanup."

How much -- and how much that would cost -- is the question everyone is asking.

The answer depends on how the land is used and the outcome of additional soil testing in the works. For example, the most problematic area is the southeast corner of the parcel, where the Vikings' plan calls for a parking lot. State pollution officials said if more contamination is found, they could require the developer to remove soil to a depth of two feet before it lays asphalt.

Ryan Cos. did testing

Ramsey County's Mack said if the Legislature and the state sign off on the project, then the county and team will work out a plan with the PCA on how to proceed.

Much of that testing, however, has already been done. Ryan Cos., the Minneapolis developer, spent millions of dollars on an environmental assessment as part of an ambitious residential and commercial proposal for the site that it dropped in 2009.

The environmental standards for the project were much higher because of the residential component. Those costs, combined with the crashing real estate market, made the project prohibitively expensive, said Rick Collins, Ryan Cos. vice president of development.

How expensive?

"That's proprietary," he said.

Mondale said Ryan Cos. has not shared its report with government or team officials -- though it would like to, for a price. "They've offered to sell it to the Vikings for quite a number," he said.

Fix, of the U.S. Army, also wouldn't say how much additional cleanup would cost. But the overall purchase price for Ryan, for a slightly larger version of the parcel, was $43 million, he said. On a per-acre basis, that's essentially the same as the $30 million estimate for land acquisition and cleanup contained in the Vikings deal, Mack said.

The Ryan project fell apart over how much the Army would spend to finish cleaning up about two dozen hot spots that have contaminants above the level allowed for industrial development and building demolition, Fix said.

"That's where we couldn't come to terms with Ryan," he said.

And that's where Ramsey County and the team will still have to come to terms with the Army, he said.

Josephine Marcotty • 612-673-7394

  • related content

  • Bill ties racino to Vikings stadium

    Friday May 20, 2011

    Just days before the Legislature adjourns, a bipartisan group of lawmakers dropped a bill Friday that would use racino profits to fund a new Vikings stadium.

  • Slight movement for a new Vikings stadium

    Thursday May 19, 2011

    The Minnesota Vikings and Ramsey County forward legislative language for a new $1 billion stadium

  • Various ammunition factories are visible from the top of the old steam plant at the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant in Arden Hills. The U.S. Army spent $200 million to clean the site for industrial use, but a public facility may need more scrubbing. .

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles 6 Bottom 3rd Inning
Chicago Cubs 1
Detroit 1 Bottom 5th Inning
Kansas City 0
Philadelphia - J. Williams 3:05 PM
Oakland - D. Pomeranz
Toronto - M. Stroman 3:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Capuano
Arizona - T. Cahill 3:10 PM
Colorado - E. Butler
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 35 3rd Qtr 7:08
Rice 21
Troy 0 3rd Qtr 0:00
(13) Georgia 52
Georgia Tech 10 3rd Qtr 4:46
Virginia Tech 16
Eastern Mich 7 3rd Qtr 4:30
(11) Michigan State 56
Iowa 17 4th Qtr
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 10 3rd Qtr 12:29
(19) Wisconsin 48
Maryland 31 3rd Qtr
Syracuse 13
Tulane 7 3rd Qtr
Duke 19
Hawaii 0 1st Qtr 7:31
Colorado 0
Marshall 7 1st Qtr 9:19
Akron 0
North Carolina 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 4:00 PM
Portland
Houston 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
San Jose 6:30 PM
Montreal
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close