Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Friday, September 22, 2006

Arsenic subject introduction

Today the Council voted to introduce the subject matter of my ordinance on arsenic. The proposed ordinance will require landlords within the South Minneapolis Soil Contamination Site to inform their tenants (and prospective tenants) of the level of contamination the EPA has found in their soil, and require people selling homes citywide to disclose known soil contamination to prospective homebuyers.

The public hearing on this is likely to be on October 12th, at 1:30pm in the HE&E committee.

So far, the Seward Neighborhood Group Environment Committee, the Northstar Chapter of the Sierra Club, Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota, the Women's Enviromnetal Institute and the Green Institute have signed on supporting the ordinance.

In other arsenic news, the EPA will be holding the first public input meeting on the "risk assessment" next week: Tuesday September 26th, 7-9pm at the Midtown YWCA.

The risk assessment is how the EPA will determine what minimum level of arsenic contamination they will clean up. Arsenic in soil is generally measured in parts per million (ppm). The EPA is currently cleaning up yards where they find 95 ppm or higher.

Having studied reports from the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, I believe that 10ppm is the very least we should be cleaning up, if not lower. The MPCA recently downgraded the level of arsenic in soil that they consider to be a chronic risk to children from 10ppm to 5ppm. MDH considers 10ppm an acute risk to kids with pica (an eating disorder marked by eating dirt, which is linked to poverty).

I join Environmental Justice Advocates of MN, SNG Environment Committee, the Sierra Club Northstar Chapter and others in calling for the EPA to clean up soil contamination above 10ppm.


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