SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts

New round of cleanup for former Austin industrial site

Pollutants still detected more than 80 years after closure of Austin Gas Manufacuring Company.

Posted: Dec 11, 2017 11:04 AM
Updated: Dec 12, 2017 3:19 PM

AUSTIN, Minn. – Some watchful volunteers sparked a new round of cleanups at the site of the old Austin Gas Manufacturing Company.

The Cedar River Watershed District (CRWD) says people removing litter from the Cedar River this summer noticed spots of what looked like motor oil in the water. It appeared to be coming from the river bottom just downstream from the Oakland Avenue East Bridge, near the former industrial site.

“We’re really grateful for these volunteers and others who report areas of concern with our local waterways whether it’s while cleaning up litter or paddling the river,” said Tim Ruzek, CRWD’s outreach coordinator.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency was notified and says the property owner has done additional testing and more cleanup in now planned for the area. Signs have been placed advising people to avoid contact with sediment or water along this short stretch of the Cedar River.

The CRWD says testing has found the contamination is below the level where it is a threat to drinking water, but seasonal and intermittent surfacing of contaminants might occur.

The Austin Gas Manufacturing Company turned coal into lighting and heating gas from 1905 to 1935. The plant was eventually sold and multiple businesses took over the property until the 2004 flood led to the land being purchased and taken out of use. Alliant Energy bought the site in 2005 and began a voluntary cleanup, removing more than 31,000 tons of contaminated soil and the site was later sold to Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation.

Article Comments

Mason City
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 70°
Albert Lea
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 68°
Austin
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 68°
Charles City
Scattered Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 72°
Rochester
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 65°
After a busy morning we're tracking a much calmer Sunday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Severe WX Cut-In July 20

Image

Motocross comes to Millville

Image

Robotics demonstrations at family fun night

Image

Auditor comes to town

Image

New aquatic center being considered in Byron

Image

North Iowa Fair on a hot night

Image

Dealing with rising water levels

Image

Charles City downs Clear Lake; advances in 3A baseball districts

Image

Working in the Heat

Image

Search Continues for Missing Man

Community Events