Minnesota Finds High Levels of PFAS and Nitrate in Drinking Water

Minnesota has detected more contaminated drinking water across the state. Woodbury, MN has high amounts of PFAS in its city wells, and other areas in the state are finding high levels of nitrate in their drinking water. 

The state is familiar with water contamination issues. In 2010, the attorney general and commissioners of the Minnesota Pollution Control agency and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources filed a lawsuit against 3M. 3M is a chemical company specializing in the production of perfluorochemicals for non-stick cookware, stain repellant and fire extinguishers. It was believed 3M was dumping their chemicals illegally –leading to water contamination. 3M gave the state $850 million in 2018 to settle the lawsuit and clean up the contaminated water. 

According to MPR News, Woodbury is receiving $7.5-8 million of that settlement to aid in building a temporary treatment plant, so the city can begin removing PFAS from its wells. Jim Westerman, Woodbuy’s utilities manager, warns if the treatment isn’t ready for the summer demand, citizens could face water restrictions. Others in the state are facing different water issues.

Hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans have nitrate in their drinking water. The EWG explains, “Drinking water for an estimated half a million Minnesotans is drawn from groundwater contaminated with elevated levels of nitrate, a toxic pollutant that is linked to cancer and is especially dangerous for infants.” The EWG also goes on to say even though Minnesota is implementing a Groundwater Protection Rule, it might be too late for those who’ve already been drinking water with high amounts of nitrate.

The Groundwater Protection Rule should be completely applied to the state within the next few years.