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U.S. EPA REGION 5
HENNEPIN COUNTY
MINNEAPOLIS

Congressional District # 05

GENERAL MILLS/HENKEL CORP.

EPA ID# MND051441731
Last Updated: December, 2013

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 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 adsorption pit each year.  BBD Holding purchased the property in 1989.  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).  Soil was also previously contaminated with VOCs. Currently, groundwater contamination remains at reduced levels and continues to decline over time. However, the contaminated groundwater remains a source of contaminated vapor that moves through the overlying soil.

Cleanup Progress

General Mills first performed soil and groundwater sampling during the 1980s with oversight by the MPCA.  A Consent Order between General Mills and the 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 (zero to four feet) did not present a 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 reducing due to natural processes.  Groundwater does not exceed surface water quality standards where it discharges to the Mississippi River. 

More recently, concurn has arisen about whether the remaining groundwater contamination may present a vapor intrusion risk to residents of the area. Currently, General Mills, under the oversight of the MPCA, is sampling vapor beneath residences in the area of the groundwater plume to find out where it may present a risk. Where sample results indicate vapor levels above MPCA screening levels, a sub-slab (beneath the basement) ventilation system will be installed to protect residents.  MPCA is also continuing to evaluate the status of groundwater cleanup at the site.    

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 collaborates with EPA as needed. 

Community Involvement

The MPCA has developed an extensive community involvement program for the site, including mailings, a web site, and public meetings.

Property Reuse

Currently, buildings on the site provide space for several dozen small businesses.

Contacts

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

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
dave novak
(312) 886-7478

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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