Contact: Ralph Pribble, 651-296-7792
St. Paul, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is seeking public comment on a proposed plan to clean up contamination related to perfluorochemicals (PFCs) at the 3M Cottage Grove site in Cottage Grove, Minn. The public comment period for the proposed plan will end June 19, 2009. The 3M Cottage Grove Site is located along State Highway 61, at Innovation Road. The site houses a large research and manufacturing complex where 3M has made a variety of products since the 1940s. In the 1980s the site was investigated and cleaned up under the state Superfund program due to contamination from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mainly solvents. Since then, 3M and the MPCA have learned that parts of the site and groundwater beneath it are also contaminated with PFCs. 3M installed a groundwater pump-out system on the site in the 1980s to prevent migration of solvents to the Mississippi River. The system pumps groundwater back into 3M's manufacturing facility at the site to augment cooling and process water, after which it is treated, is discharged with other wastewater to the river via a flow channel. However, the current pump-out system does not prevent all of the PFCs from migrating to the river. 3M completed a feasibility study of various options for cleaning up the PFCs at the site and submitted it to the MPCA in March 2008, followed by requested amendments in January 2009. After evaluating the options, the MPCA has selected its preferred alternative. The MPCA recommends enhancing the existing pump-out system so it completely captures PFCs that may be reaching the Mississippi. The discharge from the pump-out would be treated to remove PFCs. Additionally, areas of residual PFC soil contamination on the site would be excavated and removed. The MPCA also will require 3M to remove sediments containing PFCs in the cove along the river to which the facility's wastewater is discharged. Excavated soils and sediments containing PFCs will go to the SKB Landfill, a permitted industrial landfill in Rosemount, Minn., where they will be placed in an engineered, long-term containment cell. This cell is being built to contain PFC waste materials excavated from the 3M disposal sites in Cottage Grove, Oakdale and Woodbury. A public meeting on the proposed cleanup will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27, at the Cottage Grove City Offices. A one-hour open house will precede the meeting. The proposal is open for public comment through June 19. Comments must be submitted in writing to Gary Krueger, MPCA, Remediation Division, 520 Lafayette Road N., Saint Paul, MN 55155-4194. After the comment period closes, MPCA staff will evaluate whether changes are needed based on public input. The MPCA commissioner will make the final decision as to the remedy, which will be outlined in a final decision document. Copies of the feasibility study and other documents relating to the site and the proposed cleanup are available for review on the Web at www.pca.state.mn.us/cleanup/pfc/pfcsites.html, as well as at the MPCA's St. Paul office.