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Superfund Program Implements the Recovery Act

South Minneapolis Residential Soil Contamination

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Site Description
The site is an arsenic-contaminated residential neighborhood with environmental justice concerns in South Minneapolis, MN.  Wind scattered arsenic from a pesticide formulation plant in the neighborhood throughout a three-quarter mile radius.  This scattering occurred due to outdoor operations at the plant.  Approximately 500 homes have arsenic in levels requiring cleanup of yards.  EPA has found concentrations within the soils to be as high as 2,880 parts per million.  This area has been residential since at least the early 1900s and is expected to remain residential into the future. 

Cleanup Activities to Date
Between 2004 and the fall of 2008, EPA conducted soil excavation and off-site disposal as part of a removal action at 196 properties with arsenic levels above the removal action level.  In 2008, EPA chose the site’s long-term cleanup plan, which calls for addressing approximately 500 more properties.  While arsenic levels at these properties are not immediately dangerous, the levels that are present still pose a long-term health threat to the residents.

Recovery Act Project Activity
EPA will use the $20 million in Recovery Act funds to conduct all cleanup and restoration work at the approximately 500 remaining residential properties with soils above the arsenic soil cleanup standard. The activities include the excavation and off-site disposal of all contaminated soil above the cleanup standard, with excavation to occur to a depth of 12 inches in lawn areas and 18 inches in garden areas. If confirmation samples from the base of the excavation show arsenic levels above the acute arsenic cleanup standard, EPA will continue excavating soil until the acute standard is met or foundation depth is reach. Once excavation is complete, the properties will be restored to their original condition. The activities also include establishing institutional controls on properties where excavation is not possible due to access restrictions.

FY2011 highlights include:

  • EPA completed construction at the final 118 residential properties at the site, removing approximately 10,900 tons of arsenic-contaminated soil from yards this year and nearly 45,600 tons in total.
  • An extensive multi-lingual effort was conducted to obtain access to residential properties.
  • The Recovery Act-funded work has been completed ahead of schedule.

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