The Big Story Blog

Environmental quality and pollutants in the pool

Posted at 10:38 AM on October 13, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Environment

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MPR News editor Mike Edgerly has been reporting and editing stories for years about the discharge of chemicals into the Mississippi.

He's the editor on today's story about the Metropolitan Council weighing legal action against 3M over chemical discharge. Edgerly sent us some thoughts on what's important as we follow any news today.

He says to not lose track of the central issue -- the pollutants in Pool 2, a stretch of the Mississippi River that runs from St. Paul to just north of Hastings.

At the heart of the story we reported is this question: What's putting the PFCs (perfluorochemicals) in Pool 2 of Mississippi River. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says it's the Met Council's waste water treatment plant.

For certain, some PFCs are getting into the river there. But a potential bigger source is the 3M plant on the Mississippi River just down stream from the waste treatment plant.

We reported in 2007 that the plant was responsible "each year, for between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds of PFCs discharged into the river, from 3M cooling water and the water pumped down from the Woodbury landfill."

MPR's 2007 story reported that the 3M plant, and nearby landfills where it placed waste, are the major sources of PFC.

"Why does this matter?" says Edgerly. "It's the reason the Met Council is going after one of the state's biggest employers."

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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.