Arsenic, burners, and automobiles


A quick round-up of recent environmental stories in the news: arsenic, burners, and idling cars.


Another round of arsenic clean-up is set for South Minneapolis, near East 28th Street and Hiawatha Avenue. Arsenic arrived courtesy of a pesticide factory that operated from 1938 to 1968. The factory closed, but arsenic remained, and the area was added to the EPA Superfund priorities list in 2007. A first-round clean-up targeted 197 homes. For more information on current plans and proposals, attend proposed a community meeting on Wednesday, June 11, 6:30 pm at the Midtown YWCA, 2121 E. Lake Street. An EPA Web site gives the official background story. Anyone can comment on line about the clean-up.

The scope of this clean-up has not yet been determined. According to city council member Gary Schiff’s newsletter, the smallest cleanup option covers 488 properties, while the largest includes 782 properties.

“The EPA is proposing an easier and cheaper final cleanup plan—leaving too many households at risk,” Schiff said in his newsletter.


While the Midtown burner proposal has finally run out of time to purchase the transfer station from the City of Minneapolis, and has no takers for the electricity it promised to generate, Kandiyohi Development Partners are not giving up. They reportedly plan to resurrect the burner idea—maybe in southeast Minneapolis, closer to St. Paul’s Rock-Tenn plant, which has its own burner controversy.


A new Minneapolis ordinance limits most vehicle idling to three minutes, unless the vehicle is stuck in traffic. Proponents said people often just forget to turn off car engines. From the city’s press release:

“This is really about protecting the health of anyone spending time in Minneapolis by improving the air we breathe,” said City Council Member Sandy Colvin Roy, who sponsored the ordinance changes. “Most people are already doing the right thing and turning off their cars when they’re not on the move. But sometimes people don’t really think about letting their cars idle, they do it by habit whether it’s while waiting to pick someone up or trying to warm up their car. But the fact is that your car doesn’t need more than a minute to warm up, even in the winter, and exhaust from idling car carries a higher load of pollutants. This is a good reminder to people that if you’re sitting and waiting somewhere, turning off your engine is the right thing to do. Plus, it will save you money.”