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PFAS stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The 3M Company made PFAS at its Cottage Grove facility beginning in the 1940s. They were commonly used in household and industrial products such as stain repellents, lubricants, fire retardants and suppressants, and more. PFAS wastes were disposed of at various locations in Washington County. The source of PFAS in Woodbury's groundwater has been identified as these disposal sites.
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Yes, the water the city delivers to customers meets all State of Minnesota standards and guidelines for PFAS.
View the Annual Drinking Water Report.
Private wells are the responsibility of private landowners. Private landowners should consider having their well tested.
Complete the Private Drinking Water Well Sampling Request Form on the with MDH.
Nine of the city's 19 wells currently exceed PFAS water quality standards and guidelines.
The temporary water treatment facility, located near the intersection of Valley Creek Road and Tower Drive, is currently treating water from four of these wells to meet water quality standards and guidelines for PFAS. The remaining five wells have been removed from service.
The City of Woodbury has a one-pressure-zone system. This means no one particular well serves a specific area. The water is distributed throughout the system and well usage is rotated frequently as part of regular operation.
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. Total cost for construction of the temporary treatment plant was approximately $10.5 million.
Operation and maintenance costs are also covered under the $40 million provision. At this time it is projected to cost an average of approximately $600,000-$800,000 a year for operation and maintenance.
There is information on the MDH regarding the effectiveness of home treatment options.
This is the most viable location. The property had been identified as a potential location for a water treatment facility for decades and is in close proximity to the three impacted wells that will be treated. A fourth impacted well also will be connected to the facility with a new water main. State funding for the project is predicated on the facility located on this property.
There is no anticipated impact on the preserve. Staff is working with several agencies, including the Department of Natural Resources and the Ramsey-Washington Watershed District, to ensure the natural areas surrounding the temporary water treatment facility are appropriately protected.
The city has been sharing updates about PFAS in the water since 2007 in the City Update newsletter, on the city's website, via its InTouch email notification system*, on its YouTube channel, and through the local media. Information also is provided in the annual Water Quality Report. Updates will continue to be provided through these channels. There also have been more than 30 public meetings on this topic since the beginning of 2019.
Information also is available on the MDH PFAS sites and what PFAS are, and the State of Minnesota's dedication to the settlement with 3M and the process for identifying long-term treatment solutions.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources are leading the effort with the impacted communities under the 3M and Statement of Minnesota Settlement Agreement in identifying the long-term treatment solutions. In September 2020, the state announced three draft options for long-term treatment solutions.
The Woodbury City Council passed a resolution in October 2019 declaring the community's goals for a long-term water treatment solution.
Long-term solutions for the treatment of PFAS in drinking water are to be paid for from the approximately $700 million 3M and State of Minnesota Settlement Agreement that will go to east metro communities. Preliminary estimates indicate Woodbury’s long-term treatment facility will cost at least $150 million, maybe more, depending on several factors and other future possible changes to health standards and guidelines. It will be the largest public infrastructure project in the city’s history.
The city intends to use as much of the state settlement money to cover the costs as allowed, but other funding measures (utility rate changes, other state/federal funding sources, etc.) may be needed to close the gap if the city determines to treat the entire system. Any city funding for this project will require City Council approval.
For details, visit the State of Minnesota's website dedicated to the settlement with 3M and the process for identifying long-term treatment solution.