Work to remove contaminated soil from a hazardous waste pit in Andover is wrapping up soon. The $22.3 million project has already resulted in the removal of rusting barrels that posed a serious risk to ground water.
For close to 50 years, a small area of the Waste Disposal Engineering Landfill south of Andover Boulevard was home to industrial waste. Work to remove the barrels and contaminated soil for safe disposal out of state began in early August.
“They were trying to remove those drums one by one and so if you can imagine doing that with a backhoe it wasn't easy and there was a lot of health and safety concerns with that. Not knowing what you're going to find,” said Cliff Shierk, an engineer with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
On October 10 the last of more than 2,000 barrels were pulled from the pit with 397 still intact.
“There was really no surprises. We had some colors, you know, there was some paints in there that had some colors. We did find two jugs of acid that were intact. Two gallon jugs and I think the pH was pretty close to zero so that was an interesting find,” Shierk said.
The delicate work of removing the barrels one at a time and remove more than 10,000 tons of contaminated soil pushed the project deadline from late November to late January.
Although the large protective structure over the pit at the landfill will come down this winter, restoration work, including planting grass will carry into next spring and early summer.