News Feature | August 7, 2017

3M, Regulators In Dispute Over Who Should Cover PFC Contamination Costs

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome

lake minnesota reg new

Minnesota water regulators are taking on a corporation for allegedly violating its water quality promises.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) officials say 3M Company, a manufacturing giant, violated a decade-old legal agreement concerning water quality, according to Fox Business.

“According to 2007 agreement between the state and the company, the company must provide clean drinking water to Cottage Grove, Oakdale, Woodbury and St. Paul Park if water exceeds any safe level established by the state Department of Health,” the report said.

The state reminded the company of this agreement after 3M said it would not pay for water service for ratepayers in areas contaminated with perfluorinated compounds (PFCs).

“In a letter, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) claims 3M is violating a legal agreement it signed 10 years ago that detailed how it would pay for the costs of PFC-contaminated drinking water in east-metro suburbs. Last fall, some 200 homeowners in those suburbs were advised to drink bottled water because their wells are contaminated by toxic chemicals once used at 3M’s operations nearby,” the Star Tribune reported.

The state threatened legal action if the company does not pick up the drinking water costs. The company has not agreed to pay.

“The company’s attorney, William Brewer, said the company wants more information regarding the source of the toxic chemicals. 3M officials said the company may not be the sole source of the contamination,” the Associated Press reported.

“The company also said there is no proven health risk related to the PFC-contaminated drinking water. Brewer said state health officials have said that the new health limits are just precautionary,” the report said.

Part of the issue appears to be that PFC thresholds have become more stringent since the time 3M began its agreement with the state.

“The company has been paying for similar water costs in the area for years. But the state health department has recently put in place more stringent guidelines to protect pregnant women and children. That has led to an increase in the number of homes needing bottled water or reverse osmosis treatment, which has driven up costs for the company,” the report said.

To read more about PFC limits visit Water Online’s Drinking Water Regulations And Legislation Solutions Center.

Image credit: "Hyland lake," © 2007 blah blah photos...blah blah blah, used under an Attribution-

ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license:­sa/2.0/