Weather Forecast


Officials meet to talk PFCs

State legislators Kathy Saltzman, Denny McNamara and Marsha Swails listen on at a Nov. 4 meeting at Woodbury City Hall as a Minnesota Department of Health officials explains the latest on the clean up efforts of former 3M disposal sites in Woodbury, Cottage Grove and Oakdale. Staff photo by Hank Long.

Local legislators, municipal officials and area residents received an update from state officials Wednesday, Nov. 4, on the remediation of former 3M dump sites in Washington County.

Officials also informed those in attendance at the legislative East Metro PFC Oversight Committee held at Woodbury City Hall on some of the latest studies being initiated with regard to the perfluorochemicals (PFCs) that 3M dumped decades ago into former disposal sites in Woodbury, Oakdale and Cottage Grove.

State Rep. Julie Bunn, chair for the oversight committee, said the dearth of updates and issues discussed at the meeting reflects the progress state health and environment officials have made over the last two-plus years since 3M signed a consent order with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that called on the company to provide funds for cleanup of the former dump sites where PFCs had been deposited.

"I think the agencies, with direction from the Legislature, have done quite a superb job to act quickly to address these sets of issues and they've moved more quickly than they have in the past," said Bunn, who represents Lake Elmo and a portion of Woodbury.

Removal of the contaminated soils began at the Woodbury site (along County Road 19 and Dale Road) in mid-September and state environmental officials said the cleanup has been going smoothly.

"During excavation activities we are actually hauling the contaminated soil safely in trucks that are lined and also have covers," said Jean Johnson, a Minnesota Department of Health official in charge of the cleanup efforts.

MDH officials are spot-checking the trucks to make sure they are continuing to haul the soils safely to the SKB landfill in Rosemount, which is being triple lined to contain the contaminated soil, Johnson said.

Cleanup at the Cottage Grove site is expected to begin later this month and continue into the summer, she said.

3M spokesman Bill Nelson said after the meeting that 3M is working with the state agencies to "operate under an accelerated timetable to meet the objectives" of the remediation efforts.

Woodbury Mayor Bill Hargis, who attended the Nov. 4 meeting, said the city is pleased with the progress of the remediation efforts at the Woodbury disposal site. He said officials will continue to track information on the cleanup efforts at the Washington County Landfill, which has been identified as an additional source of the PFC contamination measured in wells in Woodbury.

"Fortunately for us, we haven't had as significant issues as the people in Oakdale and Lake Elmo and some in Cottage Grove have had," Hargis said.

More on this story is available in the Wednesday, Nov. 11 print edition of the Woodbury Bulletin.