top bg

PFAS in Groundwater

Jan. 8 Update: City begins work on temporary water treatment facility
At its Jan. 8, 2020, meeting, the Woodbury City Council took actions to expedite the construction of a temporary water treatment facility that will treat three of the city’s six water wells that currently exceed water quality standards for PFAS.

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.

The Minnesota Department of Health has established health standards for PFAS and has issued health risk advisories on six of Woodbury’s 19 wells since 2017.

The city has taken all six of these wells off-line, and water delivered to customers continues to meet all state and federal water quality standards. However, it is critical the city implement temporary treatment options as soon as possible to allow the city to meet water demand on peak use days in summer 2020. If a temporary treatment option cannot be implemented in summer 2020, increased water restrictions may be needed to ensure the water system has enough pressure to meet demand.

3M and the State of Minnesota are funding the construction of the temporary water treatment facility, which will be located in the Tamarack well field north of Valley Creek Road and east of Tower Drive. City staff is working with its consultant AE2S and the State of Minnesota to design the facility, and will be collecting and incorporating feedback from the neighborhood. 

The temporary water treatment facility is expected to be in operation until a long-term water treatment solution can be implemented, expected to be around 2025. The State of Minnesota continues to study long-term treatment options for several communities in the east metro area and is expected to share its recommendations with the cities in spring 2020. Funds for long-term water treatment solutions in the east metro are expected to be available through the $720 million settlement the state received from 3M in 2018.

Questions about Woodbury’s water system should be directed to Jim Westerman, utilities manager, at 651-714-3720 or jim.westerman@woodburymn.gov.

Learn more about PFAS in groundwater

PFAS Monitoring Results in Woodbury's municipal wells

MDH Well Health Risk Advisory Map

Remediation Activities
In 2011, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) completed remediation activities at these sites to reduce the amount of pollutants released from these sites in the future.

3M, under direction from the MPCA, continues active site remediation. For the Woodbury site, 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 website 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 on the MDH website.

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

Oct. 24 Update: Public Meeting held at Woodbury High School

Oct. 18, 2019 Update: Sixth Woodbury Well has PFAS levels above health risk limit

Aug. 28, 2019 Update: Expedited project awarded to and accepted by Woodbury

April 3, 2019 Update: Minnesota Department of Health issues new Health-Based Guidance Values

March 2, 2018 Update: $850 million settlement provides funding for cleaning up drinking water