MPCA Commissioner Brad Moore sent letters to 3M saying that agency staff believe sufficient evidence exists that the compounds PFOA and PFOS are hazardous substances, as defined by the Minnesota Environmental Response and Liability Act or MERLA.
The decision allows the MPCA to require 3M to come up with a cleanup plan and cover cleanup costs for areas that are contaminated with the chemicals, particularly in Washington County in the eastern metro area.
Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport, sponsored a similar bill at the Capitol this session. After hearing about the MPCA's decision, she decided to pull her bill from consideration.
"I think the legislation forced in some ways the department to act, and to do the right thing in this case," says Sieben.
Sieben says a recent series of public hearings on the contamination prompted the action.
"I am just very pleased that the citizens showed up, expressed their concern and now the departments are responding to that concern," Sieben says.
PFOA and PFOS are related to 3M's former Scotchgard operations at its Cottage Grove production plant. The MPCA has given the company two weeks to determine how it intends to address releases of the chemicals at its plant, and two Washington County landfills.