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Agencies outline 3 drinking water protection options for east metro following settlement with 3M

Rebecca Omastiak
Updated: September 10, 2020 06:18 PM
Created: September 10, 2020 11:11 AM

A $700 million drinking water protection plan is expected to be implemented in the Twin Cities' east metro.

According to a release from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued Thursday, the agencies have established three recommended options that would ensure safe and sustainable drinking water for more than 174,000 Minnesotans affected by PFAS contamination from The 3M Company.

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Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, are a large group of nearly 5,000 different manmade chemicals that are resistant to heat, water and oil, according to the MPCA. Learn more about PFAS here.

The three options are the result of a damages settlement between the state and 3M. A main priority from the settlement is to make sure 14 communities currently affected by PFAS contamination have access to a safe and sustainable drinking water supply.

For each option, the agencies considered the most stringent health protections in terms of treating drinking water. According to the agencies, the Health Index (HI) accounts for more than one PFAS compound and an HI of 1 or greater is issued a well advisory.

The MPCA and DNR stated their preferred option of the three would provide construction, operating and maintenance costs for about 40 years as well as for private wells using granular activated carbon for about 100 years. It also includes a $38 million allocation for future contingency planning. This option requires drinking water to be treated for PFAS at a health index value of .5 or greater.

A second option would provide construction, operating and maintenance costs for about 35 years to treat water at a health index of .3 or greater.

The third option would provide operation and maintenance funding for about 21 years and would connect Oakdale and Lake Elmo to St. Paul Regional Water services. This option also requires drinking water to be treated for PFAS at a health index value of .5 or greater.

To learn more about each option, there will be four virtual public information meetings, scheduled for Sept. 22 and 23, from 3-5 p.m. and again from 7-9 p.m. each of those days. The hour-long meetings will include a presentation plus a question-and-answer session.

Additional information will be posted on this webpage.


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