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Paynesville, MPCA at Odds Over Plume Under City [AUDIO]

Donald Lee Pardue, flickr

PAYNESVILLE – Paynesville City officials continue to be frustrated with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and their legislative delegation over lack of action over a benzene plume under the city.

The PCA has been monitoring the plume under a former gas station site for 20 years, and at one point recommended excavating it. But last year the agency said they will instead continue monitoring it, much to the chagrin of council member and former state representative Jeff Bertram.

Bertram says instead of spending more money monitoring the plume, the time has come to started digging.

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On Monday Bertam and other city officials met with 4 PCA staff members, two consultants, a representative of the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Rural Water. Bertram says the PCA did not want the meeting open to the public, and told Bertram even though the benzene plume is moving, it poses no danger.

Bertram says in a town of 2400, where they’ve already closed 2 of the city’s 8 wells because of the plume, it’s a concern that needs to be dealt with, not monitored.

He says the legislature is wasting time on other issues and not dealing with matters dealing with public health.

Thanks to KWLM in Willmar for helping with this story.

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