Mar 30, 2018

3M Groundwater Contamination Closes Half of Lake Elmo, Minn., Wells

Lake Elmo, Minn., has been forced to close two out of their four city wells over PFAS groundwater contamination

3M groundwater contamination closes another Lake Elmo, Minn., well

On March 28, Lake Elmo, Minn., closed a second city well as a result of per- and polyfluoralkyl substance (PFAS) groundwater contamination. This second well closure is in addition to a previous well closure from the chemicals more than ten years ago. The city is now only operating two out of their four city wells. Emerging contaminant PFAS groundwater contamination was contributed by 3M Co., which manufactured and dumped the chemicals in landfills, causing the contaminant to leach into the groundwater.

According to Twin Cities Pioneer Press, the Minnesota Department of Health found PFAS pollution levels that exceeded the 35 ppt safety level in the well. The two closed wells are in the southern area of Lake Elmo, where there is the most growth. Water now has to be pumped in from the northern wells, which is significantly more expensive. 

In February, 3M Co. agreed to pay $850 million to fund Minnesota water quality projects in a settlement between 3M and the state of Minnesota. The state of Minnesota filed suit against 3M in 2010, nearly a decade ago, over PFAS groundwater contamination in the Minneapolis suburbs of Oakdale, Woodbury and Lake Elmo. Lake Elmo officially hope to receive funding to cleanup their contaminated wells.

“We think the settlement will help solve a problem for Minnesota. It’s a problem that’s been a long time in the making for many decades,” said Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. “These chemicals as I mentioned were put into the ground and we are very hopeful that this settlement can help fix that.”