Two sites in St. Louis County may be added to the state's list of polluted places.
Chlorinated solvents have been detected in groundwater at sites in Hibbing and Biwabik, said Mark Elliott, hydrologist for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The MPCA said the sites should be on the state's list of Superfund sites so that they may be eligible for additional state funding.
"Chlorinated solvents are often used for degreasing for industrial and for dry cleaning," Elliott said. "They're toxic, and getting into the water supply would present a health risk."
Sites that are part of the Minnesota Superfund program are eligible for state money to help investigate and respond to pollution sources.
In Hibbing, the pollutants appear headed toward city municipal wells.
"We know it is in the groundwater and it's spreading in the groundwater to the south. We're concerned because the city of Hibbing has a number of municipal wells that are about a mile to the south," Elliott said.
The Biwabik site presents similar concerns, Elliott said. Officials haven't been able to identify the exact source of either plume.
The MPCA will also consider removing the former Northwest Refinery in New Brighton and the Kennedy Building Site in Minneapolis from the Superfund list. That would leave the number of sites on the Superfund list at 74. The MPCA is accepting public comments on the changes through the end of the month.