- The EPA has announced it will take over the cleanup of the Freeway Landfill, Minnesota's largest Superfund site, located in Burnsville.
- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (PCA) had been working out a cleanup deal with the landfill's owner, however negotiations were not made by the Dec. 15 deadline, so responsibilities were passed to the EPA.
- The EPA has listed parties that are potentially responsible for problematic dumping in the landfill, and is seeking money from those parties through lawsuits. The overall cleanup could cost taxpayers more than $60 million.
The Freeway Landfill, which contains 5 million cubic yards of trash, was shut down in 1993 and covered with coal ash during closure. However, the closure was not the end of the landfill, as potential toxic waste hazards have started to stir concerns in the Minnesota town.
"It's a wide open grass prairie of undeniable promise, and unknown peril," explained Fox 9 Investigator Tom Lyden.
In the years that the Freeway Landfill was open, it took in 20 truckloads of battery casings, which was allowed at the time. The toxic waste, along with dozens of other cancer-causing materials, are now the focus of the cleanup, as the town wishes to soon build on the 140-acre plot of land, according to Burnsville City Manager Heather Johnston.
Fox 9 explained that, while it may seem easy to just build on top of the land, a nearby quarry is the focus of concern. When the quarry eventually is shut down, the water table will rise and potentially reach the same level as the trash — which may be harmful for residents.
By taking charge of the situation, the EPA is allowing for prevention of a potentially serious issue before it becomes an even bigger problem. This was not the case in similar toxic landfill situations, such as the problematic radioactive waste at Missouri's West Lake Landfill.
It is unclear how much property Freeway Landfill owner Michael McGowan will be entitled to after the cleanup, as well as how much he will personally need to pay in the cleanup, if anything.