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PFAS in Groundwater

Review and comment on East Metro's drinking water supply plan through Dec. 10

Share your thoughts about the state’s long-term drinking water treatment solutions for the East Metro.

  1. Complete the survey and be sure to share your concerns in the open-ended question No. 5 by Dec. 10 (See a sample response).
  2. Questions about the draft options should be directed to pca@state.mn.us.

The MPCA and DNR expect to finalize the East Metro drinking plan in early 2021. The city will provide updates as more information becomes available.

View the city's comments     See a sample survey     Complete the survey

The water the city delivers to customers continues to meet all state and federal standards and guidelines for PFAS.

Background
Sept. 10, the Minnesota Pollution Control agency (MPCA) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced a $700 million long-term drinking water protection plan for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the Twin Cities East Metropolitan Area, including Woodbury. The agencies revealed three draft options that would provide safe and sustainable drinking water. 


The city provided feedback on several items in the state’s draft options in October.

While this input is technical in nature, there are two items the city is requesting be addressed that are critical and may be of particular interest to residents:

  1. Treating the water to the lowest feasible PFAS health index threshold possible should be a priority; and
  2. Settlement funds should be properly directed and prioritized first to capital and long-term operations and maintenance for drinking water treatment and to keep local water bills affordable for residents and businesses.

The public can learn more about the options on the 3M Settlement website. Private well owners can use the MPCA interactive map to see the draft long-term drinking water options for individual private wells.

“We are thrilled to see the state making progress on potential long-term water treatment solutions,” Mayor Anne Burt said. “We’ve been highly engaged working alongside them on this for many months and the draft options represent positive movement. The state sought our input about these options and we shared our concerns with them. We continue to strongly advocate for the long-term best interests of our residents and businesses and we hope we can work with the state agencies to resolve these issues in the coming weeks.”

“We are grateful the state was able to obtain the settlement dollars from 3M on our behalf,” Burt added. “We are responding to the state’s request for feedback and we feel all three draft options do not fit the long-term best interests of our community, which encompasses about half the total population impacted by PFAS in the East Metro.”

The state’s draft options were originally open for public comment through Oct 26. However, given the complexities of the draft long-term drinking water options, along with feedback from the 3M Settlement working groups requesting additional time, the MPCA and DNR extended the public comment period until Dec. 10 to ensure there is adequate time for those living and working in the east metro area to review.

“The city is doing an outstanding job advocating for Woodbury residents and businesses in meetings with the state agencies and other East Metro communities,” explained Mike Madigan, one of two residents representing Woodbury on the working groups studying this issue with the state for last two years. “Now, we need our residents to help by providing feedback to the state before the deadline. It is critical the state hears our concerns about the draft options at this time.”

Temporary water treatment plant 
The City of Woodbury’s new temporary water treatment plant began operating in June 2020. The facility, located near the intersection of Valley Creek Road and Tower Drive, is treating water from four wells to meet water quality standards and guidelines for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 

The temporary water treatment facility is expected to be in operation until a long-term water treatment solution can be implemented in the next five to seven years. Funds for the long-term solution are expected to be available from the $720 million settlement the state received from 3M in 2018. 

Seven of the city’s 19 wells were removed from service since 2017 due to PFAS levels that were above federal and state water quality standards and guidelines. Bringing four of the seven wells back into service allows the city to meet the increased demand for water during the summer months. The remaining three wells will remain out of service at this time.

Temporary Treatment Facility June 2020The temporary water treatment plant, which typically takes about 18 months to two years to construct, was completed in about five months. In order to meet peak summer demand, it was critical the temporary treatment facility was operational as quickly as possible. The City would not be operating the facility today without the work and cooperation of the State of Minnesota, 3M, the City Council, numerous city staff, our engineering consultant teams, and the construction expertise of the project contractor.


About PFAS
The 3M Company made PFAS at its Cottage Grove facility from the late 1940s until 2002. PFAS wastes were disposed of at multiple sites in Washington County. The source of the PFAS in Woodbury’s groundwater has been identified as these disposal sites.

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.

If you have questions about the city’s water system and the impact of PFAS, contact Public Works at 651-714-3720 or publicworks@woodburymn.gov.

PFAS Resources

Learn more about PFAS in groundwater

PFAS Monitoring Results in Woodbury's municipal wells

MDH Well Health Risk Advisory Map

Remediation Activities
In 2011, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) completed remediation activities at these sites to reduce the amount of pollutants released from these sites in the future.

3M, under direction from the MPCA, continues active site remediation. For the Woodbury site, remaining contamination is captured by pumping approximately 1.25 billion gallons of water annually to a treatment plant and discharging it to the Mississippi River.

Visit the MPCA website for more information about the remediation activities.

Private Water Supply Wells
As a result of the EPA’s new guidance and MDH updated HBV for PFOA and PFOS, MDH is sampling private wells within Washington County and will issue additional drinking water advisories as needed. Until their private wells are tested, residents who have concerns about their health can take steps to reduce their potential exposure to PFAS. Information on point-of-use filters and other steps people can take in their homes can be found on the MDH website.

Private water well owners or residents interested in treating the water after it reaches their home can learn about home treatment options at health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/factsheet/hometreatment.html.

Residents who have questions about their private water supply well and whether it is impacted by this change should contact MDH.

June 12 Update: Temporary treatment facility nears completion

April 13 Update: Increased water restrictions likely until temporary treatment facility is complete

March 4: MPCA and DNR listening and information sessions presentation

Feb. 21 Update: Seventh Woodbury well has PFAS levels above water quality limits

Jan. 8, 2020 Update: City begins work on temporary water treatment facility

Oct. 24 Update: Public Meeting held at Woodbury High School

Oct. 18, 2019 Update: Sixth Woodbury Well has PFAS levels above health risk limit

Aug. 28, 2019 Update: Expedited project awarded to and accepted by Woodbury

April 3, 2019 Update: Minnesota Department of Health issues new Health-Based Guidance Values

March 2, 2018 Update: $850 million settlement provides funding for cleaning up drinking water