Revitalizing the Former Esselman Store Site


The Former Esselman Store presented a significant environmental challenge due to its longstanding history of petroleum and agricultural contamination. Opened as a case by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in 1999, and then entered into the Abandoned Site Program in 2004 by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), this site, later acquired by a trucking company, continued to grapple with the legacy of its past. The MPCA and MDA’s involvement, along with the bankruptcy of the responsible party, necessitated an expert approach to manage the persistent soil and groundwater contamination impacting the local community’s well-being.

3D rendering of contamination under the site.

Project Details

Bay West stepped into this complex scenario with a clear mission: to provide comprehensive environmental solutions while ensuring community safety and compliance with regulatory standards. Our initial steps involved conducting a detailed well receptor survey and compiling historical data, which formed the foundation of our strategic approach. In 2017, we expanded the monitoring well network, a pivotal move in understanding and managing the site’s contamination.

Our commitment to community engagement marked a turning point in the project. Recognizing the previous communication breakdowns, Bay West initiated a robust community outreach program, rebuilding trust and ensuring transparent dialogue about the site’s status and our remediation efforts. This approach not only garnered positive feedback from the community but also cemented our role as a responsible and responsive environmental partner.

Continuing our work, we carried out extensive groundwater monitoring and private well sampling, focusing on both petroleum and agricultural contaminants including volatile organic carbons, gasoline range organics, nitrates, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, and pesticides. The site-wide sampling, conducted three times a year, allowed us to refine the contamination plumes’ boundaries.

In 2021 and 2022, Bay West conducted limited site investigations to further delineate soil and groundwater contamination, providing valuable insights into the extent of petroleum and agricultural contamination. Advanced technologies like Rockworks Software were used to develop detailed 3D soil plume maps, a critical tool in our remediation planning and implementation.

A key milestone was the preparation of a Feasibility Study (FS) in April 2021 for MDA and a Corrective Action Design (CAD) in January 2023 for MPCA. The FS encompassed feasibility reviews, alternatives evaluations, and cost-benefit analyses. The CAD provided focused remediation recommendations on the shallow petroleum contamination along with a cost-benefit analysis. Both reports aim to provide a long-term solution for clean drinking water to the affected residential areas.

Our involvement brought about significant benefits to the project. Bay West’s active and ongoing groundwater monitoring has been instrumental in safeguarding identified drinking water receptors. The comprehensive site investigation, aimed at filling identified data gaps, is paving the way for an effective remedial path forward. In developing an effective remedial path forward, Bay West was able to accomplish the unique challenge of meshing both agencies, the MPCA and the MDA, monitoring needs and distinctive remedial solutions. Most importantly, our work has re-established community trust and support, a testament to our commitment to environmental stewardship and community engagement.

Bay West’s involvement in the former Esselman Store site exemplifies our core values of environmental responsibility, innovative solutions, and community-centric approach. Our dedicated team of professionals continues to work collaboratively with MDA and MPCA, ensuring that our actions not only meet regulatory compliance but also contribute positively to the community and the environment.


Recent Experience

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