st. louis river site


The St. Louis River site is made up of two state Superfund sites - the St. Louis River/Interlake/Duluth Tar (SLRIDT) site and the U.S. Steel site. In 1983, the United States Environmental Protecton Agency (EPA) added the combined site to EPA's National Priorities List (NPL). Both sites are located on the south side of Duluth, Minnesota, along the St. Louis River, which flows into Lake Superior. The SLRIDT site is four miles upstream of the lake, and the U.S. Steel site is eight miles upstream of the lake. Drinking water for the city of Duluth is supplied from an intake several miles into Lake Superior. St. Louis River/Interlake/Duluth Tar Site The SLRIDT site is located in the West Duluth neighborhood of Duluth. The site had been used for industrial purposes since at least the 1890's. Pig iron and coking plants and a water/gas plant began operation at the site in 1904. Tar and chemical companies used byproducts of the iron companies' coking operations to make other products, including tar paper and shingles. The tar and chemical companies closed operations in 1948. The iron plant closed its operations in 1961 and toppled the blast furnace and emptied the coke ovens in 1962. The site encompasses about 255 acres of land and river embayments, wetlands, and shipping slips. The land portion includes the 59th Avenue Peninsula (Hallett Peninsula) and the 54th Avenue Peninsula and is bounded on the north by a Burlington Northern railroad right-of-way. The aquatic portion includes Stryker Bay, Slip 6, Keene Creek Bay/Slip 7, and a portion of the St. Louis River to the south of the two peninsulas and slips. A small part of the Sediment Unit is in waters of the State of Wisconsin. The upland portion of the site is zoned for industrial use. Approximately 960 people live within one half mile of the site. Residences are located to the west, on the 63rd Avenue Peninsula, and to the north of the railroad tracks. A walking trail and boat docks are located along the western bank of the Stryker Embayment. U.S. Steel Site The U.S. Steel site is located in the southern portion of the city of Duluth, south of the Morgan Park neighborhood. The site was an integrated steel mill (USX Duluth Works) consisting of coke production, iron and steel making, casting, primary rolling and roughing, hot and cold finishing, and galvanizing. The steel mill and coke production facility operated from 1915 until 1979 and made steel products such as nails, wire, and steel sign posts. In 1979, the blast furnaces, open hearth furnaces, fuel oil storage tanks, and a portion of the rolling mill were demolished. By 1988, the material storage area and most of the remaining buildings were demolished. The site is bounded by the residential and light-industrial neighborhood of Morgan Park to the north, the St. Louis River (also called Spirit Lake in this area) to the east, and Duluth Missable and Iron Range Railroad property to the west and south. The site covers aproximately 500 acres of land and 200 acres of sediment. A stream drains the northern part of the site near the former coke plant and empties into the St. Louis River. During operations at the site, much of the waste from the coke plant and the "hot side" of the steel plant were discharged to a settling basin formed by a control structure in the stream. Wastes from the "cold side" of the steel plant were discharged directly to the river through a small basin known as the Wire Mill Settling Basin located adjacent to the river. Site Responsibility This consolidated site is part of EPA's Superfund Program Deferral Pilot Project and was placed under State of Minnesota jurisdiction in 1995. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is the lead agency for overseeing cleanup of both the SLRIDT and USS sites by state and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions. EPA's Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO) is coordinating the sediment investigation and cleanup in coordination with the State and PRPs.

Hazardous Ranking Score

32 / 100

A score of 28.5 or higher qualifies a site for the Superfund National Priority List.

Regional Contact

Region 5
Phone: (312) 353-2000

Contact Region



Site Inspection
Preliminary Assessment
Final Listing On NPL

Contaminants & Health Effects

      Endocrine Disrupter
      Reproductive Toxin
      Persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic


        African American
        American Indian and Alaska Native
        Native Hawaiian


        People living
        within a 1 mile radius


        Average Income


        Occupied homes

        Potentially Responsible Parties

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