The cleanup of a hazardous waste disposal pit in Andover is set to begin as soon as early August.
On July 23rd, Minnesota’s governor and other elected officials spoke to the latest benchmark in the multi-million dollar project while visiting the Waste Disposal Engineering Landfill.
“Not a real glamorous project to dig out hazardous waste and then fill it back in with garbage but it is a priority,” said Governor Tim Walz.
Earlier this year, Governor Walz approved spending $10.3 million for the cleanup and continued monitoring by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The WDE Landfill is located just south of Andover Boulevard and west of Hanson Boulevard and first opened in 1962. Its operators began accepting hazardous industrial waste in the early 1970s into a one-third-acre pit. The practice stopped a few years later yet historical records indicate more than 6,000 barrels of waste were accepted.
MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop spoke in front of a large temporary enclosure being constructed over the pit to prevent vapors from escaping to nearby homes, schools and businesses.
“This cleanup effort is our number one state priority,” said Bishop.
Water is currently being extracted from the area to protect groundwater from paints, solvents PCBs and other hazardous chemicals, “Because of this it poses a high environmental risk and it’s imperative that we clean it up and finally we’re getting to do that,” Bishop said.
The MPCA says removing the hazardous waste can take anywhere from six to eight weeks depending on what is found inside the pit.