Protecting communities and families from PFAS contamination

Paths show how PFAS travels from sources like industries, firefighting foam, landfills, and wastewater treatment plants into our air, land, and water

State agencies need sufficient and sustained funding and support to adequately address PFAS contamination. This includes supporting legislation that moves Minnesota from tracking the issue to taking action on protecting human health and the environment.

Prioritizing PFAS during the 2021 session would support efforts to identify active sources of PFAS contamination, which is of high priority to MPCA and to Minnesotans.

The MPCA is continually working to advance the understanding on where PFAS are being used and how they are getting into the environment. As state agencies continue to learn more about PFAS, it is clear that this pollutant cannot be considered solely a problem around areas where large quantities have been manufactured, disposed of, or spilled. PFAS are present in nearly all parts of our environment. The breadth and diversity of PFAS pollution, coupled with a lack of research on health impacts, complicates the development of regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to managing PFAS.

Legislative proposals

Designating PFAS as a hazardous substance

Designating PFAS as a hazardous substance will enable a faster, more efficient response to releases of PFAS that threaten drinking water, communities and families. Facilities that generate PFAS pollution will be held financially accountable for cleaning up contamination.

Requiring companies to disclose information on contaminants

The MPCA would be able to require facilities to submit information on the use of PFAS and other contaminants in products and processes when monitoring shows the unexplained presence of a contaminant. With more information, MPCA will be better equipped to work with facilities and communities to reduce pollution at the source through the permitting process, incentives, or pollution prevention.

Identifying sources of PFAS in the environment

PFAS contamination is a complex problem. State agencies need additional and better information to identify potential PFAS sources and prioritize investigations when large amounts of PFAS may have been used, produced, or discarded. A $700,000 funding request would support a pilot project that would fill a critical data gap in our current knowledge of PFAS sources.

Evaluating PFAS contamination at landfills, compost facilities, and wastewater treatment plants

Minnesota does not have adequate data to evaluate materials entering wastewater and solid waste facilities that result in high levels of PFAS. A two-year funding request of $500,000 will expedite our understanding of how waste coming into these sites is affecting PFAS levels in the water that leaves wastewater and solid waste facilities.

Rapidly responding when PFAS are found in closed Minnesota landfills

When unexpected PFAS contamination is found at a closed Minnesota landfill, the MPCA needs more flexibility to protect communities and families.

Protecting Minnesotans from fish contaminated with PFAS

PFAS is in Minnesota’s most remote waterways and fish tissue. New and ongoing water monitoring is needed to identify the extent of PFAS contamination in Minnesota and to develop safe fish consumption advice. The Governor recommends $400,000 over the next two years to sample fish and water for PFAS.

Protecting drinking water and agricultural lands by reducing PFAS in wastewater and landfill leachate

The MPCA is seeking $1.4 million to better understand elevated levels of PFAS in waste streams, including wastewater biosolids, compost contact water, and landfill leachate. More information will ensure Minnesota’s drinking water is safe and farms are productive.

Contact

  • Greta Gauthier, Assistant Commissioner for Legislative and Intergovernmental Relations – 651-757-2031
  • Media inquiries: Cori Rude-Young, MPCA Communications Strategist – 651-757-2680

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