3M to shoulder cost of cleaning up Cottage Grove’s drinking water

The cost of drinkable water in Cottage Grove keeps increasing — but only for 3M Co.
The costs are for perfluorochemical mitigation projects after two Minnesota agencies — the Department of Health and the Pollution Control Agency — lowered the recommended levels of PFOS and PFOA in drinking water.
The city shut down five wells and reduced pumping for three, enacted a watering ban and created a plan to reintroduce water from affected wells at lower PFC levels.
Travis Carter, public affairs director with 3M counsel Brewer Attorneys, said 3M has spent more than $100 million on various mitigation efforts.
James Kelly, environmental health manager for the Health Department, said he would expect the cost of a Cottage Grove facility to be between $5 million and $10 million.
3M sent a letter last week to the Health Department and Cottage Grove officials contesting total responsibility for PFC levels in city water, saying they could not confirm that all contamination was caused by the company.
Kelly said the Health Department’s “conclusion all along” has been that 3M is responsible for the PFC levels and is therefore responsible for mitigation costs.
Carbon filtration systems, which the MPCA will install in homes on affected private wells, cost several hundred dollars.
“They (homeowners) shouldn’t have to worry about any of those costs,” Krueger said.
This issue was not caused by Cottage Grove.

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