News release: MDH completes Public Health Assessment of Gopher Ordnance site in Rosemount

News Release
September 29, 2014

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MDH completes Public Health Assessment of Gopher Ordnance site in Rosemount

Physical hazards are biggest on-site concern; more data needed to address concerns in some areas

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has completed its evaluation of potential public health concerns associated with the former Gopher Ordnance Works site (UMore Park) in Dakota County. Its conclusions and recommendations are contained in a draft report called a Public Health Assessment that is now open for public comment until Nov. 24.

The report reviews available environmental data and relevant site history from a large number of documents and makes recommendations intended to protect public health. The report looks at soil and groundwater contamination, gaps in existing data, the potential for people to be exposed to contaminants and potential impacts on drinking water resources due to development.

The site, located in the City of Rosemount in Dakota County, was built and operated by the federal government during World War II for the production of smokeless gunpowder and nitric and sulfuric acids. The University of Minnesota bought portions of the property in 1947‐1948 after decontamination and demolition at the site. The University and their tenants have used the property for various purposes since that time. Physical and chemical hazards are present at the site due to past uses of the property. These have been evaluated in a series of investigations that began in the 1980s and continue to the present.

The current Public Health Assessment was requested by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency as part of a process to determine the extent of any clean up or hazard removal at the site that may be needed prior to any planned future development.

The assessment reached four main conclusions:

  • Physical hazards are the most important on-site concerns.
  • Contaminated surface soil poses a concern in very limited areas.
  • There is not enough information to determine whether health hazards exist for some areas of the site.
  • People are not exposed to site-related contaminants through drinking water at this time, according to the information available; however, additional evaluation is needed in some areas to ensure groundwater contamination is not present.

More information on the report can be found at: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/hazardous/sites/dakota/gopher/index.html. Comments that MDH receives will be published and responded to in a final version of the report. Copies to view will be available by Tuesday, Sept. 30 at the Robert Trail Library in Rosemount. Comments may be submitted by email to health.hazard@state.mn.us or by mail to MDH-Site Assessment and Consultation Unit, PO Box 64975, St. Paul, MN 55164-0975.

-MDH-


Media inquiries:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications
651-201-4993