EPA Proposes Groundwater Plume in Minnesota for Superfund National Priorities List
For Immediate Release: No. 19-OPA107
St. LOUIS PARK and EDINA, MINNESOTA (October 30, 2019) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed adding Highway 100 and County Road 3 Groundwater Plume in St. Louis Park and Edina to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) where releases of contamination pose human health and environmental risks.
“Our commitment to communities with sites on the National Priorities List is that they are a true national priority,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Under the Trump Administration, EPA has a renewed focus on the Superfund program. We are taking action to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect the health of communities, and return contaminated land to safe and productive reuse for future generations.”
In 2004, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) began environmental investigation work in the area when vinyl chloride was detected in an Edina municipal well. Investigations conducted by MPCA since that time found a large chlorinated Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) plume, which includes trichloroethene (TCE), tetrachloroethene, cis-dicholoroethylene (cis-DCE) and vinyl chloride. A source for the plume has not been identified and the extent of the plume has not been defined. VOC contamination was found in municipal wells in Edina and St. Louis Park, but all drinking water is treated before distribution. Edina and St Louis Park have installed water treatment systems for municipal wells to ensure drinking water meets the water quality standards established in the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Last August, MPCA asked the EPA to place the site on the National Priorities List to access additional funding needed to investigate and clean up the contaminated area. Funding support from the federal government would assist with additional investigation activities and bring in additional technical expertise and specialized legal counsel to effectively address the complexities of the site in a timely manner.
Before being added to the NPL, a site must meet the listing requirements and be proposed for addition to the list in the Federal Register, subject to a 60-day public comment period. The site will be added to the NPL if it continues to meet the listing requirements after the public comment period closes and the agency has responded to any comments.
The NPL includes the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste releases. The list serves as EPA’s basis for prioritizing Superfund cleanup funding and enforcement actions. Only releases at sites included on the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term, permanent cleanup.
Superfund cleanups provide health and economic benefits to communities. The program is credited for significant reductions in birth defects and blood-lead levels among children living near sites, and research has shown residential property values increase up to 24% within 3 miles of sites after cleanup.
Redeveloped Superfund sites can generate substantial economic activity. Thanks to Superfund cleanups, previously blighted properties are now being used for a wide range of purposes, including retail businesses, office space, public parks, residences, warehouses and solar power generation. At 529 Superfund sites returned to productive use, 8,600 businesses operate with 195,000 employees earning more than $13 billion in annual income.
Community members are key partners at Superfund sites, and their early involvement leads to better cleanup decisions, including those about a site’s future use.
In September, EPA announced the Superfund Task Force’s completion and issued its final report outlining significant accomplishments at Superfund sites across the country over the past two years. The Task Force’s important work will continue under the Superfund Program and at all sites on the NPL. The agency will continue to prioritize expediting cleanups to protect people’s health and the environment.
For information about Highway 100 and County Road 3 Groundwater Plume: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/highway-100-cr3-groundwater.
For information about Superfund and the NPL: https://www.epa.gov/superfund.
For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for NPL and proposed sites: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/current-npl-updates-new-proposed-npl-sites-and-new-npl-sites.