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MPCA, DNR announce recommendations to protect East Metro's drinking water from PFAS contamination

MPCA, DNR announce recommendations to protect East Metro’s drinking water from PFAS contamination

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced a $700 million drinking water protection plan for the Twin Cities East Metropolitan Area.  The agencies revealed three recommended options that would provide safe and sustainable drinking water for more than 174,000 Minnesotans impacted by PFAS contamination from 3M.

Each option has the most stringent health protections requiring treatment of drinking water for PFAS below the current treatment threshold. The Health Index (HI) accounts for more than one PFAS compound. When combined an HI of 1 or greater is issued a well advisory. The options build in a degree of resiliency in order to accommodate potential changing health values or areas of contamination with minimal impact on the affected communities.

The MPCA’s and DNR’s preferred option provides construction, operating and maintenance costs for approximately 40 years and private wells for more than 100 years using granular activated carbon (GAC) filters. It requires drinking water to be treated for PFAS at a health index value of .5 or greater. The preferred option also includes the largest allocation ($38 million) for future contingency planning.

Another option, which recommends treating drinking water at a health index of .3 or greater, provides construction, operating and maintenance costs for approximately 35 years. The last option connects Oakdale and Lake Elmo to St. Paul Regional Water Services and would provide operation and maintenance funding for approximately 21 years. Similar to the preferred option, it treats drinking water for PFAS at a health index value of .5 or greater.

Each option invests in treatment systems that protect drinking water, minimize long-term costs to residents and communities, and plan for possible future changes in health values for PFAS as research and detection methods improve.

The comprehensive set of recommended options are a result of a natural resource damages settlement between the State of Minnesota and the 3M Company due to PFAS contamination in the East Metropolitan Area. The first and highest priority of the settlement is to ensure a safe and sustainable drinking water supply for the 14 communities currently known to be affected by PFAS contamination now and into the future.

With input from citizens, stakeholders, and technical experts from each of the affected communities, the recommended options account for every home, neighborhood, and community in the 150 square mile radius affected by PFAS contamination in the East Metropolitan Area to ensure all recommendations provide safe and sustainable drinking water now and into the future.

To learn more about the recommended options, the public is encouraged to attend one of four virtual public information meetings, scheduled for Tuesday, September 22 and Wednesday, September 23.

The meetings will be held from 3 - 5 p.m. and 7 - 9 p.m. each day. The meetings will begin with a 60-minute presentation followed by a question and answer session. If you have questions about these meetings, please email them to pfcinfo.pca@state.mn.us
The comprehensive set of three recommended options are open for public comment through October 26. The MPCA and DNR expect to finalize the East Metro drinking plan in early 2021. For more information or to submit comments, visit https://3msettlement.state.mn.us/