Water Treatment

Following the 2018 3M Settlement with the State of Minnesota, the city took immediate action to develop a short and long-term plan to deliver the highest-quality water possible to the community.

For project updates, be sure to check out the Water Treatment Plant and Pipeline Project website.

Temporary Water Treatment Plant

Woodbury is making way for a new permanent Woodbury Water Treatment Plant and associated infrastructure to serve the growing community. In the meantime, an expedited plan and construction of a temporary Water Treatment Plant was completed in 2020 and expanded in 2022 to serve the community with drinking water that meets all current state standards. 

The plant, located near the intersection of Valley Creek Road and Tower Drive, is treating water from six of the city’s 20 wells to meet water quality standards and guidelines for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) using granular activated carbon (GAC). The temporary Water Treatment Plant is expected to be in operation until a long-term water treatment solution can be implemented.

In addition, to ensure the best solutions for technology and operation of the permanent Woodbury Water Treatment Plant, a pilot study of GAC and Ion Exchange technologies (both proven to successfully treat for PFAS) is located inside the temporary water treatment plant and will inform decisions for the permanent water treatment plant. 

  1. About GAC Treatment
  2. Project Background
  3. Pilot Study
  4. Funding
  5. Tours & Information

Activated carbon is commonly used to adsorb natural organic compounds, taste and odor compounds, and synthetic organic chemicals in drinking water treatment systems. Adsorption is both the physical and chemical process of accumulating a substance, such as PFAS, at the interface between liquid and solids phases. Activated carbon is an effective adsorbent because it is a highly porous material and provides a large surface area to which contaminants may adsorb. Activated carbon is made from organic materials with high carbon contents such as wood, lignite, and coal; and is often used in granular form called granular activated carbon (GAC).

GAC has been shown to effectively remove PFAS from drinking water when it is used in a flow through filter mode after particulates have already been removed. GAC can be 100 percent effective for a period of time, depending on the type of carbon used, the depth of the bed of carbon, flow rate of the water, the specific PFAS you need to remove, temperature, and the degree and type of organic matter as well as other contaminants, or constituents, in the water. 

Interim Water Treatment Plants

In the summer of 2023, the city will begin construction on interim well treatment buildings in three locations.

The three new interim well treatment buildings are needed to help prepare for new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regulations anticipated at the end of this year. Based on the proposed regulations, several additional wells could exceed the suggested maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PFAS. 

The interim well treatment sites are expected to be operational in February 2024 and will be utilized until a new permanent water treatment plant is completed, likely in 2028. Once the new permanent water treatment plant is completed, the interim well treatment equipment and buildings will be disassembled and reutilized elsewhere.

Long-term Solution: Woodbury Water Treatment Plant

As an advocate for the residents of Woodbury, the city is working on developing a solution that will serve the community today and long into the future, but it may take time. This is the largest project the city of Woodbury has undertaken, and it stretches across the whole community. Careful and thoughtful design work will take place over the next several years. 

The ultimate goal for the permanent Woodbury Water Treatment Plant is to provide water that meets current and future standards, for a long time, without doubt. Woodbury is working with national engineering firms to develop the best possible treatment technologies and system improvements to treat not just PFAS but other emerging contaminants for the foreseeable future. 

 After development of a Preliminary Engineering Report, the city approved a plan to treat ALL groundwater wells through a 32 MGD million gallons per day (MGD) water treatment plant, addition of two new wells, and more than 14 miles of distribution pipelines. With this plan, any future PFAS regulatory action, after the new long-term water treatment plant is built, would not affect the city’s ability to successfully meet current and projected drinking water standards.

  1. Location of Woodbury Water Treatment Plant
  2. System Overview
  3. Funding Update

Water Treatment Location MapIn August 2021, the City of Woodbury purchased a parcel of land south of Hargis Parkway and east of Radio Drive for the future construction of the Woodbury Water Treatment Plant.

Costs associated with the purchase of the property were fully funded by the State of Minnesota and 3M settlement agreement. Total costs for the facility construction are in development. For several years, the city has been advocating for the majority of costs associated with treatment for PFAS to be funded through the settlement agreement. Updates on costs and treatment technologies will be forthcoming.

Home Water Treatment

Private water well owners or residents interested in treating the water after it reaches their home can learn more on the Minnesota Department of Health's website.

Residents who have questions about their private water supply well and whether it is impacted by this change should contact MDH.