South Mineapolis Arsenic Clean-up Update

As Kate pointed out in the comments, there is an open house at the YWCA at Lake & Hiawatha tonight to update the community on the state of the clean-up funding and efforts.

Minneapolis Council Member Gary Schiff emailed out an update as well:

EPA to announce major expansion of arsenic cleanup

For information regarding soil sampling or for a copy of a property’s results contact Tim Prendiville.

The south Minneapolis arsenic cleanup that began three years ago is about to get much larger, Environmental Protection Agency representatives will tell residents at a public meeting on Tuesday, October 30th at the YWCA, 2121 East Lake Street at 7:00 p.m. Cleanup managers will discuss the results of a recently completed health risk assessment, and take input on future cleanup which could eventually extend to another 541 residential properties. Total cleanup costs have exceeded $3 million to date.

Designation of the site to the Superfund National Priorities List last month resulted in eligibility for the cleanup of properties with soil contamination below an arsenic concentration of 95 parts per million. Approximately 130 properties with concentrations greater than 95ppm have already been cleaned up, with 36 more slated for 2008. “As a result of Superfund status, more properties may now be eligible for cleanup, depending on the final concentration level chosen.” Council Member Gary Schiff said. “Our hope is that we won’t have to carry our concern for our children to our grandchildren. However, unless the EPA can cleanup more than 70 properties per year, the process could take a decade to complete.”

The EPA will also hold general open houses to give residents an opportunity to talk to EPA representatives about the project. The open houses are on Tuesday, November 13 from 4:00 to East Lake Library located at 2707 East Lake St., Wednesday, November 14 from 2:00 to 4:00p.m.and 6:00 to Powderhorn Park located at 3400 15th Ave. S. and Thursday, November 15 from 2:00 to 4:00p.m.and 6:00 to the Franklin Avenue Safety Center located at 1201 E. Franklin Ave.

My reading of this tells me that the most contaminated properties today have more than 95ppm concentrations of arsenic. By the end of 2008 all properties known to have 95ppm or higher will be cleaned up. However, this doesn’t account for unknown properties outside the current testing boundaries that could test at that level.

The good news is that it looks like we’ll be receiving additional funding to clean up more properties below the 95ppm level. How many? That depends on what level of arsenic in the soil is deemed safe by the EPA for Minneapolis residents. Here is where they’ve set the bar in the past:

Arsenic Clean-Up Parts per Million (PPM)

The question to ask tonight is, “What is the arsenic concentration of the 541st property that could eventually be cleaned up?” Then check to see where it would fall on the above chart.

Tonight is the first of 6 open houses, as Council Member Schiff mentions in his press release. I’ve added all the dates to the Deets Calendar.

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