The EPA has issued a unilateral administrative order to two potentially responsible parties, International Paper and Burlington Northern Santa Fe, to clean up contaminated soil at the St. Regis Superfund site in Cass Lake.
The companies will excavate contaminated soil and replace it with clean soil and vegetation.
Most of the excavated soil will be stored in mounds on property that is owned by BNSF or International Paper.
A small amount of the excavated soil is projected to pose a potential leaching threat and will be transported off-site for disposal to protect the neighboring community.
The estimated cost to implement the soil cleanup is $21.4 million.
The contamination at the 170-acre St. Regis site is linked to the use of creosote and other chemicals that contaminated the soil and groundwater when a wood-treatment facility operated from the ’50s through the ’80s.
In 1984, the EPA placed the St. Regis site on a national priorities list as one of the nation’s most contaminated sites.