Pollution from Minnesota’s largest dump and sewage plant has seeped into the sediment of Pig’s Eye Lake in St. Paul, state environmental officials say, and they want the Metropolitan Council to help clean it up.
The cleanup push comes amid separate efforts to restore habitats and attract park visitors to a remote corner of St. Paul alongside the Mississippi River, where the city once threw its garbage in a massive unprotected pit — an unlined landfill that’s the biggest of its kind in the state. Pig’s Eye is also where about a third of the state’s population still sends its wastewater to one of the nation’s largest treatment plants, operated by the Met Council, which historically disposed of ash from sludge incineration on nearby land.
The state covered the dump, removed toxic waste drums and installed a soil barrier to help hold back what one staff member calls “garbage juice” about 20 years ago. And the Met Council stopped dumping its ash on its property in 1985. But the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says metals remaining in the sediment pose a risk to wormlike organisms there and the animals that eat them.