Addressing PFAS in Groundwater
In the mid-2000s, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were found to have contaminated drinking water supplies in parts of the eastern Twin Cities, including in Woodbury’s groundwater supply. Research has been conducted to identify the source and level of contamination. Most of the contamination has been traced to four former disposal sites in Woodbury and surrounding communities as a result of biproducts from a 3M manufacturing facility.
In 2010, Minnesota’s attorney general sued 3M for accountability and funding to address the PFAS issues. On Feb. 20, 2018, the State of Minnesota settled a lawsuit against 3M in return for a settlement of $850 million. The City of Woodbury continues to advocate for allocation of this funding along with seeking other funding sources.
With most of the city’s 20 wells contaminated with PFAS levels exceeding the health risk standards, the City of Woodbury has been working with state agencies to fund both short-term and long-term drinking water system improvements.
Immediate Treatment of PFAS
The city designed, built, and is operating a temporary Water Treatment Facility to address current PFAS regulatory standards and to help bridge the water production gap until the new, permanent water treatment plant is designed and constructed over the next three to four years. In addition, three interim well treatment buildings are being constructed to treat water on-site at three production wells. Learn more about the temporary and permanent solutions on the Water Treatment page.
The water delivered to customers continues to meet all state water quality standards and guidelines for PFAS.
|3M Settlement & Advocacy||City staff continues to advocate on behalf of the city to maximize treatment and funding from the 3M settlement.||2017-Present|
|Nine Wells Removed from Service||Nine wells exceeding MDH health index levels for PFAS were removed from service||2017|
|Drinking Water Master Plan||Development of specific PFAS mitigation strategies for water supply and determination of long-term groundwater supply and treatment strategies through 2050. ||2019-2020|
|Declaration of Emergency||The declaration of a local state of emergency freed up resources and provided the city opportunities to fast-track design/construction processes.||Jan. 8, 2020|
|Temporary Water Treatment Plant||Design and construction of a GAC technology treatment plant to treat four wells. Learn more.||2020|
|Purchase of Land||Purchased a parcel of land south of Hargis Parkway and east of Radio Drive for the future construction of the Woodbury Water Treatment Plant.||August 2021|
|Expansion of Temporary Plant||Expansion of the temporary water treatment plant to treat two additional wells.||2022|
|Preliminary Engineering Report||Analysis and development of details for the future water system including conceptual water treatment plant layout and treatment selection, pipeline analysis and alignment, non-treatment infrastructure needs, critical path items, and matrix of all project. ||2022|
|Relocation of Existing House on Woodbury Water Treatment Plant Site||Watch Video||August 2022|
|Two new wells||Addition of two new wells to meet current and future water demand. Both wells have been drilled - one well is currently operational and the second well will be operational in 2024.||2023-present|
|Design of the Woodbury Water Treatment Plant||The design of the Woodbury Water Treatment Plant began in February 2023 and is scheduled for completion Fall 2024. The engineering associated with this project includes the design of the approved pipeline segments, water treatment plant layout, technology, and process designs, construction sequencing and scheduling, and many other factors that affect the ultimate construction of the plant and pipelines.||2023-present|
|Interim well treatment||To accommodate the projected water demand and limited treated capacity until the full treated system is constructed, a strategy to treat PFAS directly at three wells was developed. Construction will begin in summer 2023 and will be completed and operational in February 2024.||2023-present|
PFAS, like other emerging contaminants, are the focus of active research and study, which means that new information is released frequently. The more that is learned about the chemicals the more specific and clear regulations will be developed. Currently, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has set health-based values, health risk levels, and utilizes a health index calculation to provide a protection level for specific PFAS and groups of PFAS where specific levels have yet to be established.