Vikings stadium site may not hold pollution surprises of St. Paul’s ballpark location

Now that St. Paul knows the Lowertown Ballpark would need an additional $6.2 million in environmental remediation, what about Minneapolis?

Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
(MPR Photo/Tim Nelson)

Critics of the Metrodome site have long suggested that there might be something expensive lurking under the site — something that might cost a lot of money to clean up. It was one of the charges Ramsey County commissioner Tony Bennett made when he pitched the Arden Hills site: at least everybody knew what was in the ground at the old ammo production site.

Well, there IS something under the Metrodome site, says Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. She said today that environmental studies for the new stadium also have found a limited amount of contaminated soil.

Kelm-Helgen says a warehouse once stood in what is now the back parking lot of the Dome, near 11th Street. That led to some testing, looking for industrial residue in the soil. Kelm-Helgen says the environmental study being wrapped up by the MSFA found the pollution.

“They found one small spot, that’s about 20 feet below the surface that has some contaminated soil. It’s basically at that end of the parking lot on 11th Avenue. It looks like it’s not at all extensive, and not unexpected. And from our standpoint, the good news is it is probably more isolated and smaller than what they thought might have been there. So we definitely have budgeted for that. We’ve got contingency money built in for any kind of environmental cleanup issues we’d have to do. And right now it looks like it’s the order of magnitude of you know, $10,000 perhaps. It doesn’t look like its a great, extensive monetary issue at this point.”

She says there’s no indication of a big-ticket cleanup, as there is under the Diamond Products site in St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood.