Keeping Minot clean

Minot residents are invited to help identify properties in the city that need cleanup from contamination and possibly blight.

The City of Minot and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are sponsoring a Brownfields Program project that entails planning work and assessing properties that potentially pose contamination. A large number of properties already identified are located in the city’s central core between Second Street and Fifth Street on the east side of Main Street, both north and south of the river. Other properties have been identified along East Burdick and Valley Street.

The city has placed 37 properties on the list to be reviewed. A local committee is charged with making additional suggestions and prioritizing properties.

The next step is to ask the community for any additional recommendations, said city planner Donna Bye. The city hopes to have its Brownfields website

operating at ( by this weekend. On the site, residents can find the planning area map, property nomination forms and other information.

An Brownfields entry in this Saturday’s North Dakota State Fair Parade is one avenue that the city is using to raise awareness of the project. The project motto is “Brown to Green, Rebuild Minot Clean.”

Bye said the original list of properties came from information known from historic documents, recalled and written histories and early maps that showed locations of businesses such as tanneries, manufacturing plants or gas stations that could potentially have led to ground contamination. Information also has been available from the North Dakota Health Department’s underground storage tank directory.

The city received a $200,000 Brownfields grant from EPA for the planning process, which covers a specific area that generally follows the floodway, extending from the city’s central core to the city’s southeast.

The city received $400,000 from a Brownfields grant to conduct assessments, such as ground water and soil testing. Both grant awards were announced in April 2013.

The city is accepting nominations of properties regardless of whether they are in the planning area boundaries. Properties outside the boundaries still are eligible for assessment funding if selected in the prioritization process for review.

Hiedi Waller, senior engineer with Stantec, the city’s consultant, said there are two levels of assessment. Depending on what comes up during the assessments, the city may have funding to complete 15 to 20 lower-level, phase I assessments, and possibly eight phase II assessments, she said.

The city identified four sites that are considered “catalyst” sites, which helped determine where the prime areas for Brownfields planning should be. Those sites are the Coca-Cola bottling plant at 405-9th St. SE; Robinson Insulation Co. property at 8264th Ave. NE; Porter Brothers Salvage Yard, 24-3rd St. NE; and Bridgeman Creamery, 23-3rd St. NE.

Bye said the process could determine that some areas believed to contain contamination actually do not, debunking myths that might be keeping those properties from being redeveloped. In cases where contamination exists, the city has various options.

“We can help do some cleanup. We can help partner with some people to potentially find funding,” Bye said. “We want to clean them up so they are redevelopable.”

She added that the city could buy an affected property and restore it so it can be turned into a park or housing development.

The Brownfields funding doesn’t include grant money for cleanup. However, Bye said, the city could apply for additional money for that purpose. Any cleanup likely would be two to three years into the future, she said.