Per- and polyfluoroalkl substances (PFAS) were made and used by several companies around the world in household and industrial products such as stain repellents, lubricants, fire retardant and suppressants, and more. The 3M Company
made PFAS at its Cottage Grove facility from the late 1940s until 2002.
PFAS wastes were disposed of at several sites in Washington County including locations in Lake Elmo, Oakdale and in southern Woodbury near Woodbury Drive (3M Woodbury site). The source of the PFAS in our groundwater has been identified as these disposal sites and the manufacturing facility in Cottage Grove.
View a timeline of PFAS activity in Woodbury
What is PFAS and how did it get in the water?
PFAS stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The 3M Company made PFAS at its Cottage Grove facility from the late 1940s until 2002. They were commonly used in household and industrial products such as stain repellents, lubricants, fire retardant and suppressants and more. PFAS wastes were disposed of at various locations in Washington County. The source of PFAS in the Woodbury’s groundwater has been identified as these disposal sites.
Can I drink the water?
Yes, the water the city delivers to customers meets all State of Minnesota and federal standards and guidelines for PFAS.
View the Annual Drinking Water Report
I have a private well. How do I know if I am impacted by PFAS?
Private wells are the responsibility of private landowners. Private landowners should consider having their well tested.
Complete the Private Drinking Water Well Sampling Request Form on the MDH website.
How many Woodbury municipal wells exceed PFAS water quality standards and guidelines?
Seven of the city’s 19 wells currently exceed PFAS water quality standards and guidelines.
The new temporary water treatment facility, located near the intersection of Valley Creek Road and Tower Drive, is currently treating water from four of these wells to meet water quality standards and guidelines for PFAS. The remaining three wells have been removed from service.
Which well is serving my home?
The City of Woodbury has a one-pressure-zone system. This means no one particular well serves a specific area. The water is distributed throughout the system and well usage is rotated frequently as part of regular operation.
How much will the temporary treatment plant cost and how will the project be funded?
Funding for the Woodbury temporary water treatment plant is provided through the 2018 settlement agreement between the State of Minnesota and 3M. This arrangement includes a $40 million provision for temporary facilities meeting the requirements of the 2007 settlement agreement between the same two parties. Total cost for construction of the temporary treatment plant was approximately $10.5 million.
Operation and maintenance costs are also covered under the $40 million provision. At this time it is projected to cost an average of approximately $600,000-$800,000 a year for operation and maintenance.
When will the temporary water treatment plant be operational?
The temporary water treatment facility is fully operational as of June 18, 2020.
What type of private, at-home treatment options are available?
There is information on the MDH website regarding the effectiveness of home treatment options.
Why was the temporary treatment plant constructed near Valley Creek Road and Tower Drive?
This is the most viable location. The property had been identified as a potential location for a water treatment facility for decades and is in close proximity to the three impacted wells that will be treated. A fourth impacted well also will be connected to the facility with a new watermain. State funding for the project is predicated on the facility located on this property.
Will the construction of the temporary water treatment plant impact the nearby Tamarack Nature Preserve?
There is no anticipated impact on the preserve. Staff is working with several agencies, including the Department of Natural Resources and the Ramsey-Washington Watershed District, to ensure the natural areas surrounding the temporary water treatment facility are appropriately protected.
I didn't know PFAS was in the water or that a temporary water treatment plant was under consideration. Where can I learn more?
The city has been sharing updates about PFAS in the water since 2007 in the City Update newsletter, on the city’s website, via it’s InTouch email notification system, on its YouTube channel (youtube.com/cityofwoodburymn) and through the local media. Information also is provided in the annual Water Quality Report. Updates will continue to be provided through these channels. There also have been more than 30 public meetings on this topic since the beginning of 2019.Information also is available on the MDH PFAS sites webpage and PFAS page, and the State of Minnesota’s website dedicated to the settlement with 3M and the process for identifying long-term treatment solutions
What is the long-term solution on treatment for PFAS and when will it be implemented?
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources are leading the effort with the impacted communities under the 3M and Statement of Minnesota Settlement Agreement in identifying the long-term treatment solutions. In September 2020, the state announced three draft options for long-term treatment solutions.
- View state’s draft options
- View city’s feedback to state about state’s draft options
- Public comment period closes Dec. 10, 2020
The Woodbury City Council passed a resolution in October 2019 declaring the community’s goals for a long-term water treatment solution.
Who will pay for the long-term solution for treatment of PFAS?
Long-term solutions for treatment of PFAS in drinking water are to be paid for from the approximately $700 million 3M and State of Minnesota Settlement Agreement. For details, visit the State of Minnesota’s website dedicated to the settlement with 3M and the process for identifying long-term treatment solutions.