The 3M chemicals that contain PFOS, PFOA, and other PFAS were produced in Minnesota at the 3M Chemolite facility in Cottage Grove. In 2002, 3M notified the MPCA that PFAS was detected in a production well at its Cottage Grove manufacturing facility. At the time, little was known about PFAS, so the MPCA asked the Minnesota Department of Health to develop health guidance.
From the 1950s through the early 1970s, 3M disposed of wastes from PFAS manufacturing primarily at four locations:
- 3M Oakdale
- 3M Woodbury
- 3M Cottage Grove Chemolite site
- Washington County Landfill
In late 2003, the MPCA discovered PFAS in groundwater at and near some of these disposal sites.
In 2004, PFAS were found to have contaminated drinking water supplies in parts of the eastern. Further investigations identified an area of groundwater contamination covering more than 150 square miles and affecting the drinking water supplies of more than 140,000 Minnesotans.
In spring 2007, the MPCA and 3M negotiated a Consent Order to bring investigation and cleanup of the three disposal sites under the formal Superfund process. The Order was approved by the MPCA Citizens’ Board in April 2007. The MPCA provides oversight of work plans or actions related to PFAS contamination at three sites: 3M Chemolite site, 3M Woodbury site, and 3M Oakdale site. The Washington County Landfill is addressed under the state Closed Landfill Program.
In 2010, Minnesota’s attorney general sued 3M, alleging that the company’s production of PFAS chemicals had damaged drinking water and natural resources in the southeast Twin Cities metro area. On Feb. 20, 2018, the state of Minnesota settled its lawsuit against the 3M Company in return for a settlement of $850 million.
For more information about 3M settlement activities, visit the Minnesota 3M PFAS Settlement site.
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