The Metropolitan Council is joining the state of Minnesota's lawsuit against 3M.
The Met Council wants 3M to pay for the cost of removing one of its chemicals from the treated wastewater discharged into the Mississippi River.
3M stopped making perfluorinated chemicals a decade ago, but the chemical is still polluting a section of the river from St. Paul to Hastings.
In order to meet a proposed pollution requirement on perfluorinated chemical discharges, the Met Council said it will have to spend $1 billion on carbon filtration. A 40 percent rate increase for wastewater service ratepayers in 105 cities in the metro area would be necessary to cover that, the Met Council said.
Bill Moore, general manager of the environmental services division of the Met Council, said his organization thinks the best solution would be for 3M to just clean up the river.
"Our primary interest is actually trying to promote remediation of the contaminated site because we think that makes more economic sense and more environmental sense," Moore said. "You can clean up the problem a lot cheaper and have much better benefit than trying to do anything at the wastewater treatment plant. So that's our thrust."
3M issued a statement saying it was surprised by the Met Council's action, "given that PFCs have not been proven to cause harm to humans or the environment, at the levels we see in the environment."
"It is important to note 3M is not the only source of PFCs in the environment," said Michael Nash, 3M's associate general counsel. "We believe our efforts to remove them from the environment are making a positive difference."