State agencies outline progress on managing PFAS
Today, leaders from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) highlighted requests to lawmakers that will further the state’s progress on addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals.” The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is also a partner in this work.
Although PFAS contamination in the East Metro from 3M has received high-profile attention for years, PFAS are found in soil, water, air, and wildlife throughout the state. PFAS are usually found at very low levels, but agencies have identified numerous “hot spots” with high levels of PFAS across Minnesota.
Over the past two years, state agencies have been working to protect Minnesotans from PFAS under a comprehensive, interagency plan called the PFAS Blueprint, a strategic approach to protecting families and communities from these pervasive substances. Key successes include testing public water supplies for 98% of Minnesotans, funding pollution prevention partnerships, pioneering new clean up technology, and launching a statewide PFAS monitoring plan.
“Minnesotans should feel encouraged by our progress, however, there is much more work to be done to build on this momentum and keep up with our evolving understanding of PFAS,” said MPCA Commissioner Katrina Kessler. “We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the Legislature on proposals that could accelerate essential pollution prevention measures and bring additional resources to work to avoid, manage and clean up PFAS.”
State agencies welcome bills to restrict nonessential use of PFAS. “Prevention is the most effective way to protect human health and the environment from any type of pollution, especially a contaminant as mobile and long-lasting as PFAS,” said MPCA Assistant Commissioner Kirk Koudelka.
Recognizing the challenge before the state, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz's One Minnesota budget request includes a $45.57 million investment in the state’s capacity to prevent, manage, and clean up PFAS pollution. These funds would provide grants to public water supplies, assist local businesses with PFAS reduction, improve monitoring in water and fish, and build lab and health guidance capacity for PFAS.
“The Governor’s budget request represents a significant investment in protecting Minnesotans’ health and the environment from PFAS pollution,” said MDH Assistant Commission Daniel Huff.
|MPCA: Statewide grants to support drinking water systems||$25 million|
|MPCA: Assist businesses and local government with reducing PFAS use||$4.42 million|
|MPCA: PFAS Blueprint capacity||$4.14 million|
|MPCA: Support ongoing water-quality monitoring
($18.1 million total request, $1 million for PFAS monitoring)
|DNR: Fish contamination assessment
(Includes assessment for mercury, PCBs, and PFAS)
|MDH: Building lab and health guidance capacity for PFAS||$10.1 million|