Douglas County grants access to Minnesota clean-up project

The Land and Development Committee approved an agreement Nov. 30 with the United States Environmental Protection Agency allowing access for rehabilitation construction work at Munger Landing.

Douglas County has riparian rights in the area that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency selected for a clean-up remedy for sediment contamination at Munger Landing in the St. Louis River Area of ​​Concern.

“We’ve done similar contracts like this before,” County Clerk Susan Sandvick said.

The contract was reviewed by the company’s attorney and Sandvick said it was in the county’s best interest to move the deal forward.

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Under the agreement, the EPA will assume responsibility for claims, damages and injuries.

Sandvick said she generally approves of small access agreements like this, but decided to bring it to the committee because it is a larger agreement.

Corrective construction work includes dredging to remove contaminated material from the bed of the waterway, which includes the Douglas County-owned riparian area, and placing new material on the bed, according to the agreement.

According to the MPCA, which applied for funding under the Great Lakes Legacy Act, it is estimated that 121,400 cubic meters of contaminated sediment will be removed to minimize risks to human health and the environment. Contaminants of concern in sediment include lead, nickel, zinc, polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins / furans, which have caused dredging restrictions, fish consumption advisories, beach closures, created adverse conditions and loss of fish and wildlife habitat, according to the MPCA. .

This is one of 10 sites identified for cleanup in Minnesota for the St. Louis River Area of ​​Concern.

The Munger Landing project site is adjacent to the Clyde Avenue boat launch in the Smithville neighborhood of Duluth.

The MPCA has partnered with the Wisconsin and Minnesota Departments of Natural Resources and the City of Duluth on the estimated $ 19.3 million project. Construction could start in 2022; the access agreement expires on December 31, 2024, unless extended by mutual agreement.

The agreement does not require the approval of Douglas County Council.

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