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U.S. EPA REGION 5
HENNEPIN COUNTY
MINNEAPOLIS

Congressional District # 05

GENERAL MILLS/HENKEL CORP.

EPA ID# MND051441731
Last Updated: June, 2015

Site Description

The General Mills/Henkel Corporation site is located at 2010 East Hennepin Avenue in a mixed light industrial/commercial and residential neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  A plume of contaminated groundwater extends to the south and southwest of the site. General Mills used the property as a technical center and research laboratory for food research beginning in 1930, and in 1947 added chemical research operations at the property.  From 1947 to 1962, approximately 1,000 gallons of solvents were believed to have been disposed in an on-site soil absorption pit each year.  BBD Holding purchased the property in 1989, and site buildings now provide space for a variety of small businesses.  Shallow groundwater at the site flows generally southwest and discharges to the Mississippi River approximately 1 1/4 mi from the site.  All residences and businesses in the area are connected to the municipal water system.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed by a potentially responsible party (General Mills, Inc.), under the oversight of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The site is part of EPA's Enforcement Deferral Pilot Agreement with the MPCA, and MPCA is the primary agency overseeing cleanup at the site.

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), primarily trichloroethylene (TCE), and a contaminated plume extends about 1/2 mile southwest of the site.  Soil was also previously contaminated with VOCs. Currently, groundwater contamination remains at reduced levels and is a source of vapor intrusion risk to residents of the area. 

Cleanup Progress

General Mills first performed soil and groundwater sampling during the 1980s with oversight by MPCA.  A Consent Order between General Mills and MPCA, including a Response Action Plan, was signed in 1984.  The selected cleanup action consisted of groundwater pumping to prevent further migration of contaminants and to improve water quality in the aquifer.   The groundwater pumping system began operating in 1985 and operated for 25 years.

In 2001, General Mills performed additional soil assessment near the former absorption pit.  MPCA concluded that surface soils did not present an unacceptable risk.  The groundwater pumping system continued operating until 2010, when MPCA approved a trial shut-down with increased monitoring to test whether groundwater cleanup levels could be maintained without pumping.  Currently, the groundwater pumping system remains shut down, and groundwater monitoring continues under MPCA oversight.  Shallow groundwater continues to exceed drinking water standards, but contaminant concentrations are likely to continue to decline due to natural processes. 

Beginning in 2013, under the oversight of MPCA, General Mills conducted an extensive program of soil gas sampling to evaluate the potential for contaminated groundwater to be an ongoing source of vapor intrusion risk to area residents and workers.  Where sample results indicate vapor levels above MPCA screening levels, a sub-slab (beneath the basement) ventilation system is being installed to protect residents.  As of early 2015, mitigation systems have been installed at over 160 properties and the project is about 90% complete.

Because EPA was not involved with the selection of the remedy at this state-enforcement-lead site, EPA does not conduct five-year reviews at the site.  MPCA, however, continues to oversee the site and collaborate with EPA as needed.  MPCA is currently conducting its own five-year review at the site.

Community Involvement

MPCA has developed an extensive community involvement program for the site, including public meetings and question/answer sessions, along with a website that is updated frequently. 

Property Reuse

After industrial operations at the site ceased in 1985, the industrial buildings that remained on-site could have been demolished. Instead, the property owner pursued a plan to support small businesses by renovating the buildings and leasing them to startup companies.  In 2014, EPA conducted a study of the reuse project and the benefits it provides to the community.

Contacts

Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
leah evison (evison.leah@epa.gov)
(312) 886-2064

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
cheryl allen
(312) 353-6196

Aliases

HENKEL TECH CTR
TECH CTR RESEARCH LAB
GENERAL MILLS/HENKEL CORP

 

Site Profile Information

This profile provides you with information on EPA's cleanup progress at this Superfund site.

 


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