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Water contamination shuts down seventh well in Woodbury

Woodbury declared an "emergency" earlier this year to free up funds for a new filtration plant.
Credit: KARE
Woodbury water tower Jan. 2020

WOODBURY, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Health issued a health risk notice for levels of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in a seventh well in Woodbury, Minn.

According to city officials, seven of the city's 19 wells have "detectable levels" of PFAS that have repeatedly exceeded one or more thresholds established by the Department of Health.

According to a press release, the well was shut down on Feb. 3.

Woodbury declared an "emergency" earlier this year when six of the city's wells were shut down due to contamination from PFAS chemicals traced to materials 3M dumped decades ago at disposal sites throughout the East Metro, according to the city's utilities director Jim Westerman. 

The city's emergency action was intended to free up funds for a new filtration plant, which will be built at a site northwest of Woodbury City Hall, in an area that is near three of the shuttered water wells.

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The estimated $7.5 million for the plant will be covered by the MPCA and 3M, which has agreed to pay certain costs as part of court consent decrees and lawsuit settlements.

The plant is considered a temporary water treatment solution, but Westerman said Woodbury and cities throughout the Twin Cities East Metro are working with state agencies and 3M on long-term water supply plans.

In February of 2018, 3M agreed to give the state of Minnesota $850 million, as part of a settlement of a groundwater contamination lawsuit brought by then-Attorney Gen. Lori Swanson.

3M disputes that the chemicals detected in groundwater have caused any ill health effects.

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