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EPA wraps up $2.3 million Gluek Park cleanup

Release Date: 10/13/2006
Contact Information: Mick Hans, (312) 353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov Anne Rowan, (312) 353-9391, rowan.anne@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 06-OPA181

CHICAGO (Oct. 13, 2006) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 is wrapping up a two-year, $2.3 million cleanup of asbestos-contaminated soil at Minneapolis' Gluek Park, 1927 Marshall Street N.E. The Minneapolis Park District property, which slopes down to the Mississippi River, has been closed since 2003.

"We plan to wrap up site work the week of Oct. 16," said Regional Superfund Director Richard Karl. "The cleanup went a little faster and cost quite a bit less than the $3 million budget we projected."

The effort involved removal of the top 24 inches of topsoil -- about 15,000 tons or 700 truckloads -- at the 2.6-acre park. The material was sent to an EPA-approved facility in Buffalo, Minn. Work crews took steps to suppress dust from leaving the site and monitored air on-site throughout the project. No hazardous asbestos levels were detected.

Using small excavators, work crews were able to save nearly all of the large trees in the main park area. About 60 percent of vegetation on the embankment was removed, with the slope now sculpted into a gentle path to the river. New, clean topsoil has been seeded and EPA will provide $60,000 to the Minneapolis Park Board to reduce the cost of new gardens and reforestation. The park will remain closed through the winter, with a formal re-opening planned for 2007, once landscaping activities are completed.

The Gluek Park cleanup was the final phase of a larger project that began in 2000. In the 1950s and 1960s, gravel-like asbestos-contaminated processing waste from the long-closed Western Minerals insulation plant in the Logan Park neighborhood was made available to nearby residents, many of whom used the material to fill in yards and driveways. From 2000 to 2004, EPA, working with state and local agencies, inspected 1,700 residences. About 260 yards required some excavation. While investigating the earlier cleanup, EPA learned that some of the Western Minerals material was used at Gluek Park.

All told, the Western Minerals/Gluek Park cleanup projects have cost more than $13 million. EPA's Superfund program paid for the work. Cost recovery discussions with W.R. Grace, a successor company to Western Minerals, are ongoing.

See more information about the Western Minerals/Gluek Park cleanups at http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/westernmineral/index.htm.

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