The Big Story Blog

Environmental quality: Need-to-read stories

Posted at 8:45 AM on October 13, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Environment

We're following closely the Metropolitan Council's decision to explore legal options against 3M, tied to the discharge of perfluorinated chemicals from wastewater treatment plants.

These kinds of contamination issues have been around for more than a decade. They're new again because of new state requirements on the discharges and the basic question of who will pay to meet those new rules.

Minnesota Today editor Michael Olson pulled together a great list of stories and background information that will help as we report today.

Increased PFCs in Groundwater at 3M Woodbury Site . Analysis of on-site groundwater sampling results completed by 3M last month showed that levels of two of the PFCs of concern, known as PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfate), had increased in monitoring wells at the site. 3M notified the MPCA of the findings on Sept. 14.

Testing shows no harmful PFC levels in Cottage Grove wells . State officials say recent testing of private wells in Cottage Grove and Woodbury did not detect harmful levels of 3M-manufactured chemicals.

PFOS explained. Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), or perfluorooctane sulfonate, is a man-made fluorosurfactant and global pollutant. PFOS was the key ingredient in Scotchgard, a fabric protector made by 3M, and numerous stain repellents. High levels of PFOS have been detected in humans and wildlife raising health concerns.

Map: 3M disposal sites and Chemolite plant In two wells in Woodbury, an increasing level of PFCs -- a chemical made by 3M -- has been detected at a former dump site. No increases have been found in nearby domestic wells, however.

Here's a feed of recent stories on water quality and Minnesota



About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.