Asphalt crushing raises concerns in Inver Grove Heights

An Inver Grove Heights man is raising concerns over plans to crush and mix asphalt for a county road project right across from his house.

The asphalt crushing is only a small part of a major reconstruction project on County Roads 28 and 63 near Highway 55, but Dan Schaefer says its proximity to his home poses too many health risks.

“In theory what’s happening is they’re putting a gravel pit 200 feet outside my door,” said the father of four.

On its website, Dakota County says the project will improve safety and accommodate the increased traffic that comes with a growing city.

Schaefer says the project will dramatically reduce traffic on the road in front of his house, for which he is happy, but he worries about the health risks of the asphalt crushing being so close.

A report published by the Centers for Disease Control in 2000 found carcinogens in asphalt dust generated at worksites. The report claimed exposure presented the potential for chronic health effects, including cancer.

But Schaefer said he also worries about his well water, as the process for keeping the dust at bay requires mixing water with the crushed asphalt.

“They are doing it right over a well, and my well is 180 feet from this process,” he said. “When you’re dumping water on an oil based product, there’s no way you can argue that you’re not going to have oil suspended in the water.”

Schaefer says he took his concerns to the city and they directed the contractor to put the crushing operation as far back on the parcel as they could—but Schaefer says there was no clarification on that directive.

The project is set to move forward, with a completion date of June 2018.