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Community gets updated on PFBA

Residents packed the chairs and bleachers recently for two public meeting regarding the PFBA-contaminated water issue in Woodbury.

On Jan. 10, 3M organized a public meeting at Middleton Elementary to share with residents its findings in an environmental assessment of a former dump site the company once used to disposed perfluorochemicals. The Maplewood-based company also revealed four options it is looking into to clean up the dumpsite located near Dale Road and Woodbury Drive.

One Jan. 14, a legislative House committee held a public meeting at Lake Junior High to get an update from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) on the preliminary results from a series of water filtration tests, the biomonitoring program and progress on setting health-based values for perfluorobutanoic acid, which last year was discovered in trace amounts in Woodbury municipal water wells.

And last week the MDH released a final report on the health risk limits for PFCs, which included information on PFBA and the fact that scientists are saying it is less toxic than other PFC's which have been found in Lake Elmo and Oakdale water, but not in Woodbury.

All that information would make many people think the situation is under control, right?

Not so, said some residents at the Jan. 10 3M public meeting, who questioned the company's neutrality in its ongoing studies of the chemicals and how it affects humans in the trace amount it has been found in Woodbury water.

3M has maintained that it has made its research on PFCs public all along and that it is in the process of finalizing its recommendations for remediation of the former Woodbury dump site to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

MPCA spokesman Ralph Pribble said once 3M officially submits its environmental assessment and remediation recommendations for the site, the MPCA will take between 30-45 days to review the report before making a final determination.

3M entered into a consent order with the MPCA last May, and has agreed to follow the MPCA's determination on how to clean up the dump site.

"(3M has) been keeping us apprised all along of what their plans are for the remediation of the site," Pribble said. "If they're in communication with us it helps guide them to a better end product."

At the Jan. 10 meeting Mayor Bill Hargis suggested 3M use all four of its recommended remediation alternatives to clean up the entire dump site. He also reiterated the city's position that 3M and the MDH continue their effort to find a health based value for the PFBA in Woodbury water in an expedient matter

"Long term, if we could get that site cleaned up and we could get this chemical out of the water completely, that would be our preference," Hargis said at the meeting.