This page provides information about the status of the investigation and remediation activities that are ongoing at the former Cedar Service Wood Treatment facility located in Bemidji, Minnesota.


The Cedar Service Wood Treatment facility (Site) is located on 38 acres on Carr Lake Road approximately 1 mile east of US highway 71 in Bemidji, Beltrami County. The Site operated from 1971 to 1980 treating telephone and power line poles in two below grade dip tanks containing a mixture of 3 percent to 5 percent pentachlorophenol (PCP) and diesel fuel. As a result of Site operations, soil and groundwater contamination in the form of PCP and diesel range organics (DRO) persist at the site and ground water off-site.

The site geology consists of surficial deposits composed of weathered glacial till with some coarser alluvium to 10-20 feet below ground surface (bgs). This surficial unit is underlain by coarser water bearing alluvium with abundant discontinuous weathered till deposits and extends down to 90 to 100 feet bgs. This intermediate alluvial unit is underlain by a till aquitard of varying thickness that separates it from a lower alluvial aquifer.

Because no viable Responsible Party was identified, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) requested the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to complete emergency removals of contaminated soil and process infrastructure in 1997 and 1999. The 1997 response actions included removal and disposal of 2,600 gallons of PCP from deteriorating, unsecured storage tanks and piping, 65 drums of PCP contaminated sludge collected from the dip tanks and approximately 335 tons of PCP contaminated soil. An additional 700 tons of PCP contaminated soil was removed and disposed in 1999 as well as 660 gallons of PCP stored in 12 drums at the Site.  Various voluntary parties completed investigations at the Site from 1998 to 2007 before the Site was added to the Minnesota Permanent List of Priorities in 2013. In 2002 the property was divided into two parcels, designated as Parcel A and Parcel B. Remedial investigations are ongoing on Parcel A where site infrastructure was located, and primary operations were conducted. After remedial activities were completed on Parcel B, a No Further Action letter was issued to the Voluntary Party in 2003.

MDA directed additional soil investigations in 2020 and 2021 to identify and delineate dioxin and PCP contamination remaining in the source area and wood chip disposal area adjacent to the Site. Because dioxins were detected in the source area, a chain link fence was constructed to safeguard the Site.

Groundwater Remediation

Groundwater monitoring at the site and adjacent properties has been conducted since 1998 and includes DRO, PCP and several PCP degradates. PCP contamination in groundwater is highest at the Site, ranging from 53 to 42,000 parts per billion. The groundwater flow direction is commonly to the north and the contamination generally increases with depth and migrates from the source area. Although groundwater contamination extends off-site, PCP, PCP degradates and DRO have not been detected in any residential well sampled near the Site. Additional monitoring wells were added to the network in 2016,2019 and 2020 to further delineate the extent of the PCP plume. In addition, several injection wells were installed, and preliminary groundwater remediation efforts were initiated. Remediation efforts consist of in situ chemical oxidation injections and performance monitoring events.  Annual groundwater monitoring and remediation efforts continue.   

For more information, please contact the MDA staff listed above.