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American Engineering Testing (St. Paul, MN)

Saving limited valuable real estate space

Year Completed: 2018

The site of the old Midway Stadium, 1771 Energy Park Dr., St. Paul, is home to one of the largest civil engineering applications of Tire Derived Aggregate (TDA) in Minnesota. Over one million tires, or approximately 20 percent of a year’s worth of discarded tires in Minnesota, are finding new life protecting the Mississippi River from stormwater runoff.

Where people once tailgated before the baseball game, business have now set up shop in a 190,000-square-foot commercial and light industrial office warehouse project.

Unbeknownst to perhaps all of the tenants and customers, their parking lot is resting on an underground stormwater filtration and storage system made from TDA. The tire shreds’ job is to capture the sediment and store the water for slow absorption back into the area.

Developer Asked to Step Up to the Plate with Response Action Plan

The Saints baseball team had played here for 22 years. In those days, water ran over the surface to a seven-foot-diameter pipe that dumped water and sediment directly into the Mississippi River.

Because the land was once a landfill for the State Fairgrounds, the St. Paul Port Authority required a Response Action Plan to remediate a site that is a potential source of pollution for ground and surface waters. We’re not talking about a small landfill. Today, the 12-day-long Minnesota State Fair is one of the region’s most widely attended tourist activities, drawing about 1.8 million visitors a year. It’s one of the nation’s biggest fairs. The fair is located next to the Midway Stadium site on 320 acres.

Extensive cleanup of the site occurred in 2015. At the beginning of 2016, the stormwater management system was installed. LHB Corporation designed the stormwater management system using TDA supplied by First State Tire Recycling, Isanti, MN. A SAFL Baffle, pervious pavers, and approximately 30,000 cubic yards of TDA work together to pre-treat water by removing sediment. The system is designed to infiltrate the runoff volume from a 100-year storm event.

LHB Corporation project documents describe the advantages of using TDA as fill for stormwater systems: “The use of TDA as a storage facility for stormwater treatment provides an environmentally safe reuse of tires that would otherwise be discarded as waste.”

The project documents explain, “Tire derived aggregate offers a reduced cost alternative to the typical stone aggregate and chamber systems that are commonly used for below grade stormwater storage. In addition to conserving natural resources, TDA can greatly reduce the cost of construction for underground systems.”

Monte Niemi, CEO of First State Tire Recycling, says many developers prefer to have their stormwater systems be underground, as it saves valuable real estate space. “The use of tire derived aggregate in civil engineering has its roots in road construction and site foundation stabilization,” Niemi said. “Heavy developments on top of TDA have proven successful due to its unique engineering properties.”

Niemi describes the unique properties as lightweight with high shear strength, large void space and good thermal insulation.

Tires Aid in Proven Design

With the assistance of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and others, the St. Paul Port Authority has turned 21 polluted and often abandoned inner-city sites into environmentally friendly business centers.

In 2010, the St. Paul Port Authority installed an innovative, state-of-the-art stormwater system that set a precedent in sustainable, or “green,” engineering. Formerly the home of 3M Co. factories, the land now hosts 650,000-700,000 square feet of new buildings. Within the land, engineers connected new, 10-foot diameter metal culverts to the Phalen Storm Water tunnel which was already present. As backfill to surround the metal culverts, 7,725 cubic yards of TDA was installed. The system now eliminates more than 90 percent of the runoff sediment from 163 acres of St. Paul East Side that previously flowed untreated into the Mississippi River. The project won numerous awards, including the ACEC Grand Award and the 2012’s People’s Choice Award in ACEC’s Engineering Excellence Award Competition.

About the Contractors

The Midway Stadium site involves United Properties, LHB Corporation, R.J. Ryan Construction, and Carl Bolander & Sons Corporation.

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