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Posted on: September 1, 2020

EPA Adds Groundwater Plume to Superfund National Priorities List

The following press release was recently issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More information can be found at EdinaMN.gov/plume.

St. Louis Park and Edina, Minnesota, Sept. 1, 2020 – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the addition of six sites to the National Priorities List (NPL) including the Highway 100 and County Road 3 Groundwater Plume in St. Louis Park and Edina, where releases of contamination pose human health and environmental risks.  EPA is also proposing to add another four sites to the NPL while removing one previously proposed site that was never finalized.

Under the Trump Administration, the Superfund program has re-emerged as a priority to fulfill the agency’s mission. EPA’s renewed focus has spurred action to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect the health of communities, and return contaminated land to safe and productive reuse for future generations.

“Communities with sites on the National Priorities List are a true national priority under the Trump administration,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Many of the sites we are adding today are in vulnerable, low-income, and minority communities that deserve our attention. EPA is demonstrating our commitment to assist overburdened communities in becoming cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous places to live, work, and go to school.”

“Adding Highway 100 and County Road 3 Groundwater Plume will ensure that the cities of Edina and St. Louis Park have a permanent solution to groundwater contamination,” said EPA Regional Administrator Kurt Thiede. “This administration continues to prioritize Superfund cleanups that improve the health of our communities and the environment. We are coming to the community as a partner, to help ensure the health and well-being of every resident.”

In 2004, vinyl chloride was detected in an Edina municipal well. This prompted environmental investigations by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) which revealed a large chlorinated Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) plume that contained trichloroethene (TCE), tetrachloroethene and vinyl chloride.

The groundwater plume extends from St Louis Park to Edina and is near Highway 100 and County Road 3. Neither the source, nor the extent of the plume has been identified. Although VOC contamination has been found in municipal wells in Edina and St. Louis Park, all drinking water is treated before distribution.

Background

The NPL includes the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination. The list serves as the basis for prioritizing EPA Superfund cleanup funding and enforcement actions. Only releases at sites included on the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term, permanent cleanup.

Superfund cleanups provide health and economic benefits to communities. The program is credited for significant reductions in birth defects and blood-lead levels among children living near sites, and research has shown residential property values increase up to 24% within three miles of sites after cleanup.

Redeveloped Superfund sites can generate substantial economic activity. Thanks to Superfund cleanups, previously blighted properties are now being used for a wide range of purposes, including retail businesses, office space, public parks, residences, warehouses and solar power generation. At 602 Superfund sites returned to productive use, 9,180 businesses operate with 208,400 employees earning more than $14.4 billion in annual income.

Community members are key partners at Superfund sites, and their early involvement leads to better cleanup decisions, including those about a site’s future use.

Today’s actions are, in part, the result of EPA putting the recommendations of the Superfund Task Force to work. EPA jump-started progress at sites that had long-standing obstacles; took early action to address immediate risks; increased the number of sites that can be returned to communities for reuse; and incentivized work by potentially responsible parties. Since the completion of the Superfund Task Force’s work one year ago, the recommendations have been integrated into the Superfund program and at all NPL sites. The agency will continue to prioritize expediting cleanups to protect human health and the environment across the country.

For information about the site: www.epa.gov/superfund/highway-100-cr3-groundwater

 

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