Frequently Asked Questions
On December 12, 2012, Ramsey County extended an Amended Offer to Purchase for 427 acres of the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant property in Arden Hills for $28 million. Any funds expended by Ramsey County for environmental remediation and site clearance on the property will be credited against the purchase price. With these and other credits, the effective purchase price of the property was reduced to $4.9 million. The federal government retains responsibility for certain environmental liabilities under the Offer to Purchase, and federal environmental laws require the U.S. government to promise, for certain contaminated property it sells, that “any additional remedial action found to be necessary after the date of such transfer shall be conducted by the United States.” The purchase is structured in two parts: 1) initial purchase and transfer of title for 397 acres of previously remediated property, which the County closed on April 15, 2013; and 2) the remaining 30 acres of property which has residual soil contamination, and will be leased from the federal government while Ramsey County remediates the soil. Once the cleanup is complete, the County will close on the final 30 acres and take title to the leased property.
Q. Is Ramsey County liable for the contamination at TCAAP?
The purchase of this property has been specifically structured to avoid Ramsey County assuming liability for environmental contamination at the property. The County has entered into a “fixed fee” contract with Carl Bolander & Sons. Under the contract, Bolander is responsible for remediation of the property, even if they find additional contamination at the site. Bolander also agreed to indemnify Ramsey County against all liability incurred in performing under the contract. Bolander will carry environmental and other insurance in addition to their contractor’s bond. In addition, the County has hired Bay West to provide environmental oversight of the cleanup. Finally, the County has purchased insurance to protect the County from any additional liability not identified in the Offer to Purchase agreement or any of the remediation contracts.
Q. What about the water treatment system on the site?
The Army will continue to own and operate the groundwater remediation system. This system will remain in place with oversight from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approximately the next 50 years. This system will continue to treat contaminated groundwater through a system of pumping stations and an on-site treatment facility that air strips the contaminants from the water, and then recharges it into the water table.
Q. How do you know what kind of pollution is on the site?
A Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study \and numerous other environmental, ecological and health-based studies were completed for the site between 1983 and 1994. These and other studies were the basis for the issuance of three “Records of Decision” between 1992 and 1997, which detailed the response actions that the EPA, MPCA and Army determined needed to be taken at TCAAP. Pursuant to these documents, the cleanup of a substantial portion of the TCAAP property has already been completed. Future investigation of the property will be undertaken by Bolander and Wenck pursuant to a Quality Assurance Project Plan approved by both the EPA and MPCA, and a Field Sampling Plan approved by the MPCA. Once the investigation is complete, Bolander and Wenck will prepare and implement a Response Action Plan approved by the MPCA to address the identified environmental concerns. The County will seek a “certificate of completion” for the pollution on the site, as well as a “de-listing” from Superfund for the soil contamination.
Q. Who is overseeing the remediation work?
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, through their Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup Program, will oversee the remediation work. They have been delegated this authority by the Environmental Protection Agency. The County will follow their “bona fide prospective purchaser” guidelines, established under federal law to protect parties who buy or lease contaminated property. As part of that program, the MPCA has already issued a “No Association Determination” letter to Ramsey County. This is written assurance that the acquisition, cleanup, site clearance, installation of roads and utilities and other actions at the property will not associate Ramsey County with the identified release of hazardous substances on the property.
Q. TCAAP is a really big piece of land; how much is the County buying?
The County is purchasing 427 acres. The entire parcel is larger, and some of that land has already been acquired for various uses, including the Rice Creek Wildlife Area, the Ramsey County Public Works campus, the Arden Hills City Hall, and the MNDoT campus on County Road I. The County will also purchase, through a separate transaction, a parcel adjacent to the Rice Creek area, as well as a narrow strip of land that runs along the property line between TCAAP and the Arden Hills Army Training Site. This strip of land will be used as a Wildlife Corridor, and bike path connection from County Road I to Highway 96.
Q. How long will it take to clean up the property?
Bolander’s fixed price contract stipulates that the property will be fully remediated in 30 months, approximately by October 2015.
Q. How will Bolander access the site? What about the construction at highways 96 and 10?
Bolander will access the site at County Road H and Interstate 35W for the duration of the remediation project. Their activities will not be affected by the construction project at highways 96 and 10.
Q. What is the next step after the property is cleaned up?
Beginning in May 2013, the City of Arden Hills, working through their contractor Kimle Horne, has undertaken a Master Planning process. There will be several opportunities for people to participate in this process. The City of Arden Hills and Ramsey County must both approve the Master Plan, and then the Joint Development Authority (made up of representatives from the City and County) will implement the Master Plan through redevelopment activities on the site.
Q. Where can I find information about the project?
You can find information about the overall project on this site and information regarding the master planning process at www.cityofardenhills.org
TCAAP Area Road Construction
Q. Will the entrance to the Arden Manor mobile home park on Hwy 10 (the Big 10 entrance) remain open during construction?
Yes, this entrance to Arden Manor will remain open at all times. There will always be access from either the north or the south. The intersection of Highway 10/96 is currently closed and access to Arden Manor off of Highway 10 is from the north only. The Contractor is working on a temporary access road that will connect Highway 96 west of Highway 10 to the frontage road west of Highway 10. Once this temporary access road is complete, access to the Arden Manor entrance off of Highway 10 will be from the south via the temporary access road.
Q. What is the timing on the new southern (Hwy 96) entrance?
The timing for construction of relocated Prior Avenue is difficult to nail down at this early stage of construction. The Contractor’s current schedule shows construction beginning in early June but this is subject to change due to weather and change in sequencing of construction. They are required to maintain access to Arden Manor off of Highway 96 from either the old entrance or the new entrance at all times.
Q. What happens at the Old 10 / Hwy 96 intersection during construction?
The intersection will be closed to through traffic for the duration of the project construction, through November 2013. This is required to give the Contractor enough room to dig a 20+ foot deep hole and construct two bridges to carry Highway 10 over Highway 96.
Q. Where can additional information on the Hwy 10/96 intersection be found?
The Ramsey County Public Works Construction Updates website (http://www.co.ramsey.mn.us/pw/construction.htm) includes a link to a layout of the partial interchange. Our website also includes a link to MnDOT’s website for the project (http://www.dot.state.mn.us/metro/projects/hwy10ardenhills/). This is the best source of up-to-date information for the project as MnDOT is administering the construction contract. At MnDOT’s project website you can sign up to receive email updates.
Q. Is the state considering a sound wall on Hwy 10 near some of the homes?
A noise analysis was performed in the impact area of the interchange during the early stages of development of the project. The impact area did include homes along the Highway 10 frontage road and mobile homes adjacent to them. The analysis concluded that a noise wall in this area was not feasible, because the grade and alignment of the ramp would have required extraordinary design efforts to construct the wall.
If you have a question about the TCAAP project, email us.