Site a quarter mile from Mille Lacs Lake one of nine proposed as Superfund sites | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Site a quarter mile from Mille Lacs Lake one of nine proposed as Superfund sites

Posted: January 15, 2014 - 11:16pm

A mixed industrial/residential area, about a quarter mile from Mille Lacs Lake is proposed for addition to the state’s Superfund site.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Wednesday reported it and the Department of Agriculture are collectively proposing to add nine sites to the Superfund cleanup list and remove one.

In Mille Lacs County, the 1.5 acres on Hennepin Avenue in Isle is known as the Merit Enterprises site. A metal-plating facility had occupied the site since the 1950s. Before 1978, toluene and trichloroethylene were discharged to the sewer. Before the facility was destroyed by fire in 2008, soil at the site was found to be contaminated with chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which were in the groundwater at concentrations above the state health department’s health risk limits.

Run-off from firefighting activities carried some of the acids, bases, cyanide and metals used in plating onto low-lying areas nearby. Elevated levels of mercury and nickel were found in the surface soils. Soil vapor samples also showed elevated levels of VOCs, which could potentially enter nearby homes. The MPCA stated it wants to add the site to the state Superfund list so funds are available for further investigation and to determine corrective actions, if needed.

The MPCA is proposing to add seven other sites to the state’s Superfund list.

Other sites include: one in Kandiyohi County contaminated with mercury; a lumber site in Virginia with leaking heating oil and wood-treating chemicals in the soil; a site west of Ely where elevated levels of chemicals above health standards were found in residential wells and were traced to what is believed to be a ditch dump site; a clothing cleaners’ site in Rochester; a gravel pit turned dump site four miles southwest of Dundas; groundwater contamination site in Washington County requiring residential wells to be sealed and homes to use an new water system; a plating site in Minneapolis with groundwater contamination by metals and cyanide, as well as solvent vapor with a concern for potential discharge to a tributary of the Mississippi River.

In addition, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is proposing to add the former Cedar Service Inc. site in Bemidji to the state Superfund list. The MDA reports the site is contaminated with a wood treatment and agricultural chemical — pentachlorophenol. The chemicals were used to treat wooden poles at the site from 1971 to 1980.

In 1997 and 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency excavated soil and removed a tank and sludge in an emergency response. The MDA reports its investigations indicate significant contamination persists in the groundwater and the contamination is migrating off site, posing a threat to a food production well.

“Corrective actions, including groundwater remediation and possible soil corrective measures, are needed to address the contamination,” the MPCA and MDA reported.

The agencies recommended removing the Bassett Creek/Irving Avenue dump site from the Superfund list. The 35-acres site is west of downtown Minneapolis and serves as the city’s vehicle impound lot.