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EPA in Minnesota

St. Louis Park Vapor Intrusion Site

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Site Update

March 2016

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency completed a vapor intrusion study and removal action in the neighborhood of St. Louis Park in June 2008.

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Site Background

In 2005 and 2006, samples of ground water taken in St. Louis Park by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency were found to contain VOCs. That prompted more tests to find out if the soil contained vapors from the VOCs. These vapors can move up through the soil and into the basements of homes and other buildings. This process is called vapor intrusion.

The study done by EPA and several other local and state agencies involved testing the soil underneath homes and businesses for the presence of vapors from VOCs. If soil vapor levels were high then indoor air samples were also taken. Vapor extraction systems were installed in homes found with elevated levels of VOC fumes.

EPA took soil vapor samples from beneath the foundations of 220 homes and 49 businesses. Of the 220 homes sampled, 41 were found to have elevated levels of VOCs. Of the businesses, 12 had elevated levels. In response, EPA took indoor air samples at all but one of those locations (one resident denied access). Results from the indoor air sampling showed the presence of elevated levels of VOCs in

16 of the properties (11 residential and five commercial).

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EPA offered vapor extraction systems to those homeowners with elevated levels of VOCs in their indoor air or in the soil beneath their homes. These systems were then installed by EPA at no charge to the homeowner. All property owners had the final say as to what happened at their property. Forty home vapor extraction systems were installed. EPA also explained to the commercial property owners what types of measures the owner could take to address the vapors. These measures will be the financial responsibility of the commercial property owner.

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The Highway 7 & Wooddale Avenue Soil Vapor Study Areas are located near the intersection of Highway 7 and Wooddale Avenue in St. Louis Park, Minn.

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Volatile organic compounds are a group of chemicals used in solvents, paints and dry-cleaning fluid.  Breathing low levels of VOCs for long periods may cause an increase in health risks.

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Cooperating Agencies

The following agencies worked together to address the vapor intrusion removal:

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Minnesota Department of Health
  • Hennepin County
  • City of St. Louis Park