The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed placing a contaminated site in St. Louis Park and Edina on the National Priorities List, which would make it eligible for investigation and cleanup efforts under the federal Superfund program.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in August asked the EPA to place the groundwater plume site on the list. The site is generally bounded by W. 33rd Street to the north, S. France Avenue to the east, W. 58th Street to the south and Blake Road to the west. The contamination includes several volatile organic compounds, which are carcinogens and can cause kidney and liver problems.
In its letter asking for federal help, the MPCA wrote: "While treatment has previously been installed on the drinking water wells to ensure safe drinking water to the communities' residents, it is a high priority to continue investigations and remediation of the associated groundwater contamination plume to protect human health and the environment."
Listing the area as a National Priority site would aid efforts to identify the exact source of the pollution.
"It looks like the state will finally get the resources to dig in even deeper and find who polluted the groundwater, hold them responsible and maybe even look at how we could fix that pollution so it doesn't spread further," said Tom Harmening, St. Louis Park's city manager.
In 2004, the MPCA began to look for the source of vinyl chloride contamination that was detected in several Edina wells. Over the next several years, the source was traced to an area near Walker and Lake streets in St. Louis Park.
In 2007, MPCA samples detected high concentrations of chlorinated solvents in groundwater, which could cause vapor intrusion, meaning the chemicals could move into the air.
Both cities have worked with the MPCA and EPA to address any health concerns from drinking water and vapor intrusion.
"The cities are treating drinking water now, but it'd be great to clean up the source of the contamination instead of just treating the symptoms of it," said Walker Smith, MPCA spokesman.
The last Minnesota site listed on the National Priorities List was in Spring Park in 2018. That was the first Minnesota site listed in about two decades, Smith said.
St. Louis Park's Reilly Tar and Chemical Corp. site was also placed on the National Priorities List in 1983. That area is now home to condos and townhouses, a restaurant, bowling alley and rec center.