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EPA ready to return to recovery act-funded South Minneapolis arsenic site; meeting March 31, 6 P.M.

Release Date: 03/24/2010
Contact Information: Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov Cheryl Allen, 312-353-6196, allen.cheryl@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 10-OPA029

(CHICAGO – March 24, 2010) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said today that it will return to its cleanup of arsenic-contaminated soil at nearly 500 South Minneapolis homes as soon as the ground thaws—most likely in a few weeks. This project is supported by $20 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Residents pay nothing for the cleanup, which would not have started as quickly without the economic stimulus funding.

Residents can talk to EPA representatives, health officials and contractors at an open-house style spring kickoff meeting on Wednesday, March 31, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Matthews Recreation Center, 2318 29th Ave., S.

This phase of cleanup at the site began in September 2009. During the fall season, 40 of 485 property cleanups were completed. Work at the remaining properties is projected to take two full construction seasons, wrapping up in late 2011. Residents may see construction vehicles and workers in required protective equipment in residential areas around South Minneapolis. Progress reports and photos will be posted online.

The South Minneapolis site is one of 50 Superfund National Priorities List sites benefiting from $600 million in Recovery Act funding announced in April 2009. It encompasses a number of neighborhoods near the intersection of 28th Street and Hiawatha Avenue where the CMC Heartland Lite Yard was located from about 1938 to 1968. A pesticide containing arsenic was produced there and material from an open-air railcar-unloading and product-mixing operation is believed to have been wind-blown into nearby neighborhoods.

From 2004 to 2008, an EPA Superfund team cleaned up 197 properties with arsenic levels above 95 parts per million, or ppm, at the site. The 2009 to 2011 work targets properties with lower levels of contamination, from 25 to 94 ppm. EPA is working in consultation with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Health and the city of Minneapolis.

EPA representatives will meet with individual residents before work begins on their yards. Following each yard cleanup, EPA will take soil samples to confirm that only trace levels of arsenic remain. Once the contaminated soil is removed, EPA will fill in the yards with clean soil and restore any landscaping disturbed.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Feb. 17, 2009, and has directed the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at www.Recovery.gov.

The federal Superfund program was created in 1980 to clean up uncontrolled hazardous waste sites that pose unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. Superfund sites are often found in industrial areas hardest hit by the recession. Superfund cleanups are major construction projects that employ thousands of workers nationwide.

For more information on the South Minneapolis Residential Soil Contamination Superfund Site, see http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/cmcheartland.

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