Soil vapor sampling underway
(Updated June 16, 2020) On June 8, 2020, the MPCA started the next phase of the soil investigation project at this site. Additional soil vapor sampling for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) will help determine the current extent of the contamination plume, which is believed to have originated from a former dry cleaning operation at the site. Sample collection is being done by Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions. See the project map for past and proposed boring locations.
A building near the intersection of Minnetonka Boulevard and Raleigh Avenue South hosted several dry cleaning businesses from 1981 through 1998. Dry cleaning chemicals contaminated soil and groundwater on nearby properties. During redevelopment in 2000, the current owner removed about 3,600 cubic yards of tetrachloroethylene (PCE)-laden soil, but contamination remains. More work is needed to evaluate and mitigate vapor intrusion and groundwater risks.
In January 2020, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recommended referring the site to the Minnesota Permanent List of Priorities (PLP), which allows the MPCA State Superfund Program to use state funds to conduct investigation activities and response actions.
Your questions, answered
Is my drinking water safe?
Yes! The drinking water in St. Louis Park is safe. Providing safe drinking water is the most important public duty we as a city have to our residents, and we take that duty very seriously. St. Louis Park's drinking water is regularly tested and must meet the drinking water standards set by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, a requirement of any public water system. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) enforces these drinking water standards for public water supplies in Minnesota. MDH enforcement is based on the regular testing and monitoring of drinking water from public water supplies. Results of this testing are available to each consumer through an annual consumer confidence report which is distributed via mail each year to every household in St. Louis Park. View the city's drinking water reports.
What are the possible health effects associated with this site?
The primary human health concerns associated with the site are vapor intrusion risks resulting from PCE and TCE impacts in soil and groundwater. The risk of direct soil and/or groundwater exposure is unknown because the extent and magnitude of soil and groundwater contamination is unknown at this time.
- Vapor Intrusion (Minnesota Department of Health)
- What is vapor intrusion? (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency)
- Commonly asked questions about vapor intrusion investigation sites (Minnesota Department of Health)
What has been the role of the City of St. Louis Park in this site?
The City of St. Louis Park has been in contact with the MPCA regularly over the years regarding this site and will continue to be an active and supportive partner in the MPCA's actions regarding this site.
What has been done by the MPCA to address any health concerns at the site?
In addition to removal of contaminated soil prior to construction of Fern Hill Place, sampling and testing has been done numerous times since 2010. In many cases where testing indicated a need, vapor mitigation systems were installed. Further work is needed to ensure vapor mitigation systems are working properly, complete soil vapor mitigation, conduct additional soil vapor testing and inform residents of buildings in the area. Read "What's being done?" at the MPCA website.
What is a vapor mitigation system?
If soil vapors are found under your home or building that could indicate a concern, a mitigation system can be installed to remove vapors from beneath the foundation and vent the vapors to the outside air. These are the same systems commonly used to keep radon from entering homes. They are relatively inexpensive to operate, simple to design and install, and are a proven solution to radon and vapor intrusion problems. (What is done to reduce vapor intrusion and improve indoor air quality? from commonly asked questions at vapor intrusion investigation sites, Minnesota Department of Health)
What buildings are included in the site?
The site area includes Fern Hill Place, a commercial building to the west of Fern Hill Place, the Uptown West Apartments and the St. Louis Park Police Department. View a map and read "What's being done?" at the MPCA website.