St Regis Paper Company operated a wood preserving site in Cass Lake from 1957-1985. The site consists of 125 acres on the Leech Lake Reservation, within the Chippewa National Forest, in the City of Cass Lake. It is now a designated superfund site.
Groundwater, surface water, sediment and soil on and nearby the site are contaminated with dioxin and other chemicals as a result of the wood preserving process and waste disposal activities.
John Persell has been a water quality specialist and environmental policy analyst for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. He also represents District 5a in the MN House of Representatives, which includes Cass Lake and the superfund site. It is in his capacity as a State Rep that he spoke with Northern Community Radio's Maggie Montgomery about the shortcomings of the new EPA plan, the history and future of the site, the status of the groundwater, and the politics of the EPA. You can hear the interview below: