Agency Installs Vapor Containment, Sets St. Louis Park Meetings

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 (Chicago) had nearly completed its $1-million effort to contain potential hazards from underground soil contamination in St. Louis Park, Minn. by June 17, according to a press release.

The agency scheduled two meetings on July 10 to update area residents and businesses on the system.

EPA became involved in the St. Louis Park project in December 2007, prompted by the discovery of vapors from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in area groundwater 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 sub-slab and/or indoor air VOC levels that exceeded the Minnesota Department of Health's screening levels, which are set to protect public health.

The agency installed vapor-abatement systems at no cost at 40 of the 41 properties that exceeded the screening level. (One property owner did not provide installation access after the initial sampling.) The systems resemble commonly seen radon gas-abatement systems. EPA will sample the air in residences with the systems 30 days and 90 days after installation.

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