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EPA begins final cleanup of Recovery Act-funded south Minneapolis arsenic site

Release Date: 09/08/2009
Contact Information: Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 09-OPA165

(Chicago, Ill. - Sept. 8, 2009) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said today that cleanup of arsenic-contaminated soil at nearly 500 South Minneapolis homes is under way. This project is supported by $20 million in funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Residents pay nothing for the cleanup.

From 2004 to 2008, an EPA Superfund team cleaned up 197 properties with arsenic levels above 95 parts per million, or ppm, at the South Minneapolis Residential Soil Contamination Site. The work starting this week 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.

Residents may see construction vehicles and workers in required protective equipment in residential areas around South Minneapolis through late October and again during the 2010 and 2011 construction seasons. The first phase of work in 2009 will target properties in the Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods. 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. 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.

Following each residential 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.

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 which employ thousands of workers nationwide. Since it began, the program has cleaned up 1,064 of the 1,596 sites on its National Priorities List.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Feb. 17, 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 http://www.recovery.gov.

For more information on the South Minneapolis Residential Soil Contamination Superfund Site, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/eparecovery/south_minneapolis.html.

For more information on the Superfund program, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/.

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