Pigs Eye Lake, Landfill, and Surrounding Area

Pigs Eye Lake is part of Ramsey County’s Battle Creek Regional Park south of downtown Saint Paul. The lake lies southeast of the Metro Plant, and south of the Pigs Eye Landfill, Minnesota’s largest unpermitted dump site. Battle Creek runs through the landfill and feeds into Pigs Eye Lake.
  • From at least 1956 to 1972, the Pigs Eye Landfill covered about 230 acres, and was used as an unpermitted dump, with numerous municipal, commercial, and industrial sources.
  • From 1977 to 1985, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency permitted the Metro Plant to dispose of sewage sludge ash on about 31 acres of the landfill site, which was then covered with soil.


Metropolitan Council wastewater treatment system

Our wastewater treatment system provides high-quality, cost-efficient service that protects public health and the environment. It consistently achieves near-perfect compliance with federal and state clean water discharge standards while holding metro-wide average wholesale customer rates to 40% below the national average.

Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant

Located on the Mississippi River in Saint Paul, the Metro Plant is the largest wastewater treatment facility in Minnesota. When it opened in 1938, it was the first plant in a metropolitan area on the Mississippi River. Today it is among the nation's largest. The Metro Plant treats an average of 172 million gallons of wastewater per day. The plant is located adjacent to Pigs Eye Lake and the Pigs Eye Lake Landfill.

Site clean-up

The contamination at the landfill site was recognized as an environmental concern and placed under Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) oversight in 1989. Starting in the mid-1990s, several investigations of the site led to site clean-up efforts that continued through 2005.

In 2001, the Minnesota Legislature appropriated up to $7.1 million to the MPCA to pay for cleanup at the landfill site. The MPCA partially cleaned up the landfill site, removing visible drums of hazardous waste, cleaning up soil in the battery disposal area, placing a 2-foot soil cover on 80 acres of the site, and stabilizing the Battle Creek banks and Pigs Eye Lake shoreline.

A 2001 agreement between the MPCA and the Met Council set up a voluntary program to monitor groundwater in the former Metro Plant ash disposal area. Since 2006, the MPCA has conducted annual groundwater and surface water monitoring and sampling at the landfill site.

In 2012, Ramsey County Parks & Recreation staff reached out to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Saint Paul District, to identify a need for environmental restoration within Pigs Eye Lake. The Corps, in close collaboration with Ramsey County Parks & Recreation, began constructing island and wetland features in Pigs Eye Lake in June 2022. Read more about the project.

Ecological risk studies

Between 2009 and 2018, both Met Council’s Environmental Services Division and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) conducted a series of studies to understand the current state of contaminants in the soil, groundwater, and lake sediment and water in the area. According to the MPCA, its focus was on ecological risk from various contaminants.

The Environmental Services studies and plans focused on:

  • Identifying below-ground conditions around the buried critical infrastructure of the South Saint Paul Wastewater Forcemain Pipe
  • Performing a historic land use study of the area
  • Analyzing sediment from a site between the dump site and Metro Plant property
  • Conducting an ecological risk assessment of the area