Robbinsdale Middle School
Location: 3730 Toledo Ave N., Robbinsdale
Nominated by: Braun Intertec
2013 Environmental Impact Award Winner
The site where the cleanup occurred includes the southern five acres of the school’s 16.8-acre campus, which are used by Robbinsdale Middle School for outdoor athletic fields. The first known use of the site is a sand and gravel mine that operated prior to the 1930’s. From at least the 1930’s until the late 1950’s, the site was operated as a dump. In the 1950’s, the site was donated to the school district, who constructed the building and began using the site as a playground and athletic fields. The school serves 1,300 students in grades 6-8. The site currently consists of a soccer/football practice field and two ball fields. The site has been in continual use by the school district since the 1950s; however, the current soccer/football practice field, which was previously occupied by tennis courts and a playground, sat idle for at least three years. The tennis courts were taken out of service in 2007 because potholes and large cracks caused by differential settlement of the underlying dump materials posed significant trip hazards and made the courts unusable. In addition, the playground, which was left over from when the school was used as an elementary school, was not replaced because of concerns with the underlying contamination and had been left idle for a number of years.
The site is listed on the MPCA Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup Program and Petroleum Brownfields Program databases. The larger school property is listed on the Underground Storage Tank, Leaking Underground Storage Tank, and RCRA Small to Minimal Quantify Hazardous Waste Generator databases. Cleanup of the site was extensive. Dump materials extended up to 14 feet deep beneath the site. Soil investigations indicated that little to no clean cover was present over the dump materials that were heavily debris-laden and contained elevated concentrations of polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), arsenic, lead, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) relative to regulatory standards. Asbestos containing materials and diesel and gasoline range organics were also present. Over 30,000 tons of contaminated soil was transported offsite for disposal. By using an alternative soil correction approach, the amount of impacted soil required to be transported to a landfill was reduced by over two-thirds, thereby preserving landfill space and eliminating fuel consumption and diesel exhaust from trucks. Drain tile was used within clean backfill to capture storm water before it can infiltrate through underlying dump materials and impact groundwater.
The project removed and limited exposure to near-surface contamination on the outdoor athletic fields that are used by students and community athletic leagues. The renovation included a replacement of an unused playground and tennis courts with an artificial turf soccer/practice field, and a revamp of two ball fields with an installation of new backstops, equipment sheds and bleachers. In addition to cleaning up significant environmental contamination, the project contributes to the overall fitness for students and members of the community by providing quality and safe athletic fields.
- $ 1,800,000 Total Remediation
- $ 2,400,000 Total Redevelopment
- Hennepin County Environmental Response Fund (6 grants)
- Hennepin County Youth Sports Grant
- School District Funds
- Robbinsdale School District
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
- Hennepin County
- Braun Intertec