Minneapolis Star-Tribune article exposed more details about the billion dollar cleanup expected if just 10% of the region's stormwater ponds are contaminated with coal tar sealants. The State of Minnesota found that 9 out of 15 had high levels of the chemical associated with coal tar sealer wear-off.
The number of ponds in the Twin Cities area where local governments are responsible for the cleanup is estimated to be 20,000, but that does not include the vast number of facilities which have private association or corporate maintenance. Obviously the overall community cost could rise even higher.
"This is a huge cost to municipalities," said Al Innes, an MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) pollution prevention specialist, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
One bright spot is the potential to dispose of this pond sediment through local berms and hope it breaks down over time. While it may save money, it could take years for the material to breakdown and could erode from storms, floods or burrowing animals.
Minnesota is not the only state in the US to have stormwater ponds and coal tar sealants. The state represents less than 3% of the US population and easily less than 10% of the 85 million gallons of coal tar sealant used around the country annually. Much of the rest of the nation has no idea that this "nasty surprise" awaits them as well.
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