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EPA to resume arsenic sampling in South Minneapolis; meeting May 9, 6 to 8 P.M.

Release Date: 05/03/2006
Contact Information: (EPA) Mick Hans, (312) 353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov (EPA) Bill Omohundro, (312) 353-8254, omohundro.william@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No.06-OPA066

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: EPA and partner agency representatives will be available to brief media before the May 9 YWCA public meeting from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., and again post-meeting, after 8 p.m.

CHICAGO (May 3, 2006) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 will resume collecting soil samples from residential yards in South Minneapolis neighborhoods the week of May 15. A public meeting to summarize the 2005 work and answer questions about the upcoming effort will be held May 9, 6 to 8 p.m., at the YWCA, 2121 E. Lake St.

With the goal of comprehensively mapping airborne arsenic contamination from the former CMC Heartland Lite Yard at the intersection of Hiawatha Avenue and 28th Street, EPA plans to collect small "plugs" of soil at more than 3,000 properties in 2006. Five contractor sampling teams, sometimes wearing required protective equipment, will be working in the Corcoran, East Phillips, Powderhorn and Seward neighborhoods.

There is no cost to residents for this soil sampling or any cleanup work. EPA is working in partnership with the city of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

In the weeks ahead, EPA will schedule additional meetings in the affected neighborhoods. A fact sheet and outreach materials in English, Spanish,

Hmong and Somali will be available at the meetings, at local businesses and online at www.epa.gov/region5/sites/cmcheartland. Residents with questions or who need special accommodations at the May 9 meeting may contact EPA community involvement coordinators Cheryl Allen or Bob Paulson toll-free, at (800) 621-8431, Exts. 36196 or 60272.

During 2004 and 2005, EPA collected soil samples from more than 600 properties. Laboratory analysis identified 61 properties with arsenic contamination above EPA's action level. To date, 57 of these properties have been cleaned up with the four remaining to be addressed this spring.

From 1938 to 1963 a pesticide containing arsenic was produced at the Heartland site. Material from an open-air railcar-unloading and product-mixing operation is believed to have been windblown into nearby neighborhoods. Parties legally responsible for the pollution are cleaning up the former industrial site under MDA supervision. After further investigation indicated arsenic contamination had spread to residential yards in the area, MDA requested assistance from EPA.

If ingested in large quantities, arsenic-contaminated soil may result in gastro-intestinal problems. Arsenic is also associated with certain cancers.

Site documents and general information about EPA's Superfund cleanup program are on file at the Minneapolis Public Library, East Lake Branch, 2727 E. Lake St.; the Green Institute, 2801 21st. Ave S., Suite 100; and the Sustainable Resources Association, 1916 Second Ave., S.

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