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Forum News Service, Published March 05 2014

MPCA seeks to add Willmar sign company site to Superfund list

WILLMAR, Minn. - The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is proposing to add the former Ace Sign company site in Willmar to the list of Superfund sites in the state.

The building on the half-acre, tax-forfeited property was contaminated with mercury, but indoor air levels are now acceptable after a partial cleanup of the property in 2007, directed by MPCA emergency responders.

The partial cleanup also included removal of debris and contaminated surface soils. Analysis of site soil samples last year by MPCA found mercury in near-surface soils. Since the site is in a residential neighborhood, the main concern is potential direct exposure to any remaining contaminated soils, according to the agency.

MPCA said on its website that the agency wants this site added to the list so it can have access to funds for response actions that protect human health.

The site was discussed in 2010 by the Willmar City Council’s Community Development Committee. A city official said at the time that nearly 1,000 pounds of fluorescent light bulbs -- the source of the mercury -- were removed from the property.