CHICAGO, June 17 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 this week nears completion of a $1 million effort to contain potential hazards from underground soil contamination in St. Louis Park, Minn.
A pair of open house-style meetings to update area residents and businesses are scheduled for July 10, 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., at the St. Louis Park Senior High School cafeteria, 6425 W. 33rd St. EPA's storefront office at 6528 W. Lake St., Ste. F., will close on June 30, though the 952-922-2035 phone number will be maintained for residents to leave messages.
EPA became involved in the St. Louis Park project in December 2007, prompted by the discovery of vapors from volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, in area ground water samples. The VOCs have no effect on local drinking water supplies, but vapors could rise through the soil into basements and foundation cracks.
Over the course of the project, EPA collected soil samples from 268 properties (219 residential, 49 commercial/industrial) in an area near the
intersection of Highway 7 and Wooddale Avenue. Of these, 41 residential
and 12 commercial/industrial properties had subslab and/or indoor air VOC levels that exceeded the Minnesota Department of Health's screening levels. The screening levels are protective of public health. They are used to determine if more investigation is needed to prevent long-term exposure to low levels of vapors.
EPA has installed vapor-abatement systems at no cost at 40 of the 41 properties that exceeded the MDH screening level. (One property owner did not provide installation access after the initial sampling.) The vapor-abatement systems resemble commonly seen radon gas-abatement systems.
Follow up subsurface and indoor air sampling of those residences with vapor-abatement systems will be conducted 30 days and 90 days after installation.
An investigation into possible sources of the contamination, in partnership with MDH, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Hennepin County and the city of St. Louis Park, continues on a separate track.
VOCs are commonly used in industrial degreasers, metal cleaners and dry cleaning fluids. Breathing low levels of VOCs for long periods of time may increase some people's risk of health problems.
Documents containing more details about the site are maintained at the St. Louis Park Public Library, 3240 Library Lane, and online at www.epa.gov/region5/sites/stlouispark/index.htm. Residents with questions may call EPA Community Involvement Coordinator Cheryl Allen, 800-621-8431, Ext. 36196, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5