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Rosemount site could get 3M's dirty dirt

SKB Environmental in Rosemount is one of several landfill locations being considered for disposal of contaminated soil from 3M sites in Cottage Grove, Woodbury and Oakdale.

The soils in question contain perfluorochemicals or PFCs, compounds once used in popular 3M products. For a number of years, 3M disposed of the chemicals at its own disposal sites.

However, the company learned that, over time, the PFCs tend to bioaccumulate, and, in 2005 reports to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 3M indicated the release of perfluorooctane sulfonate and perflurorooctanoic acid into ground water, soil, surface water and sediments at the Cottage Grove site and the nearby Mississippi River.

In the time since, 3M spokesperson Bill Nelson said, the company has developed a consent agreement with the MPCA to contain or eliminate the contaminated soils and sediment.

3M has submitted preliminary feasibility studies to the MPCA, Nelson said. The studies offer options on removing the contaminates.

What 3M proposes, Nelson said, is to take the excavated soil to a landfill that is licensed to handle that type of material. Not only is the local SKB site licensed, but it has experience and expertise in that type of disposal, he added.

"We are very familiar with the Rosemount site," Nelson said, "and we are very pleased with the expertise SKB has in managing all kinds of waste."

Rosemount's location is one of several in the metropolitan area and upper midwest being considered, though Rosemount is located closest to the three 3M sites.

"Rosemount is the closest, but more importantly, it's the experience and expertise of SKB in handling this type of waste that we find attractive," Nelson said.

And, he points out, SKB has indicated to 3M a separate cell would be designed within SKB's site to deal with the specific type of waste materials from 3M.

3M must submit an addendum with its landfill recommendations to the MPCA in the next few weeks, as the MPCA must sign off on the plans before the excavation can begin.

If SKB becomes the MPCA's preferred site, the MPCA will hold an open house or public meeting of some sort so Rosemount residents can ask questions or voice concerns before the MPCA makes its final decision.

"3M knows a lot about this chemistry. There are no adverse effects to humans at the level we now see in the environment. Putting them into a landfill is the most protective measure for the environment," Nelson said.

As much as 2,200 to 5,400 truckloads of soil and sediment could be removed from the Cottage Grove site, with additional amounts removed from Woodbury and Oakdale. The total amount of soil to be removed will not be available until the addendum to the MPCA is compete, Nelson said.