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Board allows 3M access to Lake Elmo Park reserve to monitor PFCs

The Washington County Board voted at its Aug. 19 meeting to grant 3M access to the Lake Elmo Park Reserve so it can continue to measure perfluorochemicals (PFCs) concentrations in local ground water.

The agreement established between Washington County and 3M will allow the company to access to Lake Elmo Park Reserve, just south of Eagle Point Lake, so it can install a monitoring well that detects PFCs in the Jordan aquifer.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) requested 3M install the monitoring well to periodically test for PFCs in the ground water it believes may have been affected by neighboring areas that 3M once used for disposal sites for chemical waste.

According county program manager Amanda Strommer, one of those areas is the Oakdale dump that the MPCA believes may have brought discharged chemicals into Eagle Point Lake and then into the Jordan Aquifer, via Raleigh Creek that flows near the dump.

"We really don't have a good idea of what is happening as the contamination moves down through the aquifer layers down in to the Jordan," Strommer told the county board.

The new monitoring well will help the MPCA to investigate further the movement of PFCs.

The Minnesota Department of Health found low levels of PFCs in the area's drinking water beginning in 2004. Filtration systems were installed in Oakdale's drinking water treatment plants following the discovery and reached an agreement with the MPCA earlier this year to remediate its Oakdale disposal site.

During the board's discussion on the topic, Washington County Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek asked about the size of and scope of the well, which will be installed just north of the neighboring Whistling Valley subdivision in Lake Elmo.

Strommer said the 3M agreed to minimize the impact on the park and nearby residential area,

"(The well) is either going to be an open boring that is sealed, or about a foot off the ground," Strommer said. "It's not a large area."

The term of the access agreement between the county and 3M is to Dec. 31, 2010 and may be extended by written agreement by all parties, a county report stated.