PFAS in Groundwater
On Wednesday, Jan. 12, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) issued a health advisory for levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in a Woodbury municipal water production well.
The city officially removed the impacted well from service upon receipt of the health advisory from the MDH. Woodbury’s drinking water continues to meet state and federal standards and guidelines for PFAS. Of Woodbury’s 19 municipal wells, water from eight wells – based on the most current data – now have detectable levels of PFAS that on repeatable occasion exceed one or more thresholds established by the MDH. All eight of the wells, upon receipt of a health advisory, were removed from service. Four wells were returned to service in June 2020 with treatment at the temporary water treatment plant in order to maintain supply levels.
Conceptual Drinking Water Supply Plan
The final Conceptual Drinking Water Supply Plan (CDWSP), released by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in August 2021, provides safe, sustainable drinking water to the 14 East Metro communities affected by PFAS now and into the future. Each of the 14 communities received a tailored project list based on their needs, community feedback and cost estimates.
For questions about the plan, send an email to the state.
Temporary water treatment plant
The City of Woodbury’s temporary water treatment plant began operating in June 2020. The facility, located near the intersection of Valley Creek Road and Tower Drive, is treating water from four wells to meet water quality standards and guidelines for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) using granular activated carbon.
Permanent water treatment plant
In late August, the city purchased a parcel of land south of Hargis Parkway and east of Radio Drive for future construction of a permanent water treatment facility.
The 3M Company made PFAS at its Cottage Grove facility from the late 1940s until 2002. PFAS wastes were disposed of at multiple sites in Washington County. The source of the PFAS in Woodbury's groundwater has been identified as these disposal sites.
Funding for the Woodbury temporary water treatment plant is provided through the 2018 settlement agreement between the State of Minnesota and 3M. This arrangement includes a $40 million provision for temporary facilities meeting the requirements of the 2007 settlement agreement between the same two parties.
If you have questions about the city's water system and the impact of PFAS, contact the Public Works Department.
- Learn more about PFAS in Groundwater
- PFAS Monitoring Results in Woodbury's municipal wells
- MDH Well Health Risk Advisory Map (PDF)
- Timeline of PFAS in Woodbury
In 2011, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) completed remediation activities at these sites to reduce the number of pollutants released from these sites in the future.
3M, under direction from the MPCA, continues active site remediation. For the Woodbury site, the remaining contamination is captured by pumping approximately 1.25 billion gallons of water annually to a treatment plant and discharging it to the Mississippi River.
Visit the MPCA for more information about the remediation activities.
Private water supply wells
As a result of the EPA's new guidance and MDH updated HBV for PFOA and PFOS, MDH is sampling private wells within Washington County and will issue additional drinking water advisories as needed. Until their private wells are tested, residents who have concerns about their health can take steps to reduce their potential exposure to PFAS. Information on point-of-use filters and other steps people can take in their homes can be found with the MDH.
Private water well owners or residents interested in treating the water after it reaches their home can learn about it with the Home Water Treatment Fact Sheet
Residents who have questions about their private water supply well and whether it is impacted by this change should contact MDH.