Several Northland projects are included in Democratic Gov. Tim Walz's $300 million bonding proposal aimed at "clean, safe water."
Walz announced the proposal Friday — the second of four bonding proposal announcements from the governor — and asks for $1.2 million aimed at cleaning up a long-polluted patch of land in Esko and $8.6 million to replace piping for the Giants Ridge ski area's snow making. Other projects across the state include upgrades to water treatment facilities, infrastructure and other environmental restoration projects.
"This investment will allow communities across the state to repair infrastructure, prepare for severe weather events, clean up existing water contamination and upgrade facilities to prevent pollution from happening in the first place,” Walz said of the bonding proposal in a news release.
Esko Superfund site
Walz recommended $1.2 million for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for cleanup of groundwater contamination at the Esko Superfund site.
The site, near the post office, has long been known to be polluted. In 1996, while looking for a petroleum leak from a nearby gas station, the MPCA discovered tetrachloroethylene, also called "PCE," in the well at the post office. PCE is commonly used in dry cleaning and is suspected to cause cancer in humans.
The site was added to the state Superfund list in 2006. It was at one time a creamery, a coin-operated dry cleaner and an engine repair shop. It now is an Esko school district parking lot and adjacent to the post office at 10 W. Highway 61.
"This will fund predesign, design, the excavation of contaminated soil and the treatment of contaminated groundwater," Walz's office said.
Giants Ridge snow making
Walz recommended $8.6 million to the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation to replace piping for the Giants Ridge ski area's snow-making equipment.
Giants Ridge in Biwabik is owned by the IRRR.
"The current piping at Giants Ridge is 30 years old — beyond its expected useful life. Failure of the lines due to the system's age would have a negative impact on Giants Ridge and the communities in the Iron Range that depend on the tourism economy from ski visitors," Walz's office said. "The project will increase efficiency, restore failing underground infrastructure, and enhance safety on the hill during snow making operations."