Creosote concerns in St. Louis Park heard at EPA meeting

- The Environmental Protection Agency and Minnesota Department of health are hosting a meeting with St. Louis Park residents Thursday night to discuss concerns with the Reilly Superfund site. The former toxic dump was the focus of Wednesday night’s Fox 9 Investigators story.

After it opened in 1917, the Reilly Tar Company in St. Louis Park, which was also know was the Republic Creosoting Company, churned out creosote, a chemical used to preserve wood products like rail road ties. However, while the company was humming along, it was also churning out a toxic chemical sludge that was dumped into a nearby pond that flowed into a peat bog before heading to the aquifer. This dumping, which was practiced at will for many years, now has residents taking action and hoping to get answers about a possible cancer cluster.

In 1972 the company closed, leaving behind a legacy of toxic chemicals in the local water supply that neighbors say is responsible for causing a variety of cancers. Shortly after the factory closed, the Environmental Protection Agency declared the area a Superfund site. As the years went on, the contaminated soil was covered up, and today the 80 acres just north of Highway 7 and west of Louisiana Avenue have been redeveloped into condominiums, soccer fields, and a park.

This past summer, during construction of a pedestrian bridge over Louisiana Ave. neighbors began to notice a noxious asphalt-like smell was hanging in the air. They also noticed a sticky, black tar-like substance in the dirt. What was being uncovered was the nearly century old toxins, a class of carcinogenic chemicals known as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (P.A.H.). Continue reading at

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