Docs: 3M fill “used to fill the entire plant area” of the former Connor Property

DNR documents shed further light on the history of the property, which bordered Thomas St., Cleveland Ave., and other roadways. The City of Wausau recently rezoned a significant portion of it from industrial to residential.

DNR documents indicate that the “entire plant area” of the former Connor Forest Industries (CFI) property was filled with 3M fill or roofing granules.

1980s records show that a number of soil borings were performed on the former CFI property from 0 to 5 feet but that the material encountered, “however, [was] only 3M material.” (DNR Letter, April 13, 1982) The entire former property occupied a relatively large area on Wausau’s southwest side, including portions that faced Thomas Street and Cleveland Avenue.

dnr document discussing fill at connor forest industries

Excerpt of 1981 DNR document showing 3M fill was used for “the entire plant area.” Yellow highlight added.

hit fill not native soil

Excerpt of DNR document showing consultants never hit native soil during specific sample collection in the 1980s.

boring summary

Image of hand auger boring summary from a set of borings in the 1980s on CFI property

Several years later, when trenching took place to assess reported environmental issues on the property, 3M backfill – referenced as “rock flour” in the documents — was encountered in 5 of the 6 trenches. Other materials found in the trenching on CFI property included rotten logs, burlap sacks, metal strapping, plastics, sawdust, rusted barrels on the surface, among other components. (DNR Letter, January 13, 1986)

The City of Wausau just rezoned a portion of the former Connor Forest Industries property, which later became the Incubator property, from industrial to residential use.

3M fill at other sites is referenced in documents from the DNR or the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, including the WPSC River Driver Property Health Assessment. On page 6, the assessment states that “[i]n general it is believed that fill from past lumber operations was placed along most of the riverfront. The fill originated from several sources including sawdust and chips from the lumber and milling operations historically prevalent in the area. Additional fill materials reportedly originated from Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M) shingle manufacturing operations.”

Some safety data sheets for 3M Company granules manufactured in Wausau can be found here on the company’s website. Health-related hazard risks are listed:

wausau daily herald rat campaign starts monday

Wausau Daily Herald article from 1954

According to a Wausau Daily Herald article on November 27, 1954, city health officer, L.F. Bugbee, recommended using refuse from the Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co. plant site in Wausau to fill home crevices that rats may use to migrate indoors. In regard to Bugbee and that refuse, the article states:

“He pointed out that the latter quartzite product is particularly useful in this respect. He reported that where rat passage-ways have been filled with this waste, the rats are found to die soon afterwards of silicosis.”

This is the second post in a series on the former Connor Forest Industries property in Wausau.