Residents of south Minneapolis joined with federal, state, and city officials Tuesday to celebrate completion of a massive arsenic cleanup program.
A pesticide company made arsenic-laced pesticides for 30 years near Hiawatha Avenue and 28th Street in south Minneapolis.
Wind blew pesticides from the factory into yards across the Phillips, Longfellow and Powderhorn neighborhoods.
From 2004 to last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency dug up and removed contaminated soil in more than 600 properties.
EPA regional administrator Susan Hedman said in addition to Superfund money, the project benefited from $20 million in funds from the Recovery Act.
"When we talk about the Recovery Act, there's always a focus on shovel-ready projects," Hedman said. "There is no more apt a shovel-ready project than a soil contamination remediation project."
Hedman said the extra money allowed crews to finish the job a year early.
Everyone in the neighborhood will benefit — especially gardeners who eat vegetables from their yards, Hedman said.
"Those who will benefit most are the children of south Minneapolis," she said. "Young people are more likely to develop chronic health problems from exposure to arsenic and to other toxins, because their bodies are still growing and developing."