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State to ask 3M to pay for environmental damage

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The state will ask 3M to pay for environmental damage due to contamination from the company's operations in Cottage Grove.

3M manufactured chemicals known as PFCs, used in stain and fire-resistant materials, until 2002. The chemicals seeped from disposal sites into the Mississippi River. The state imposed fish consumption advisories on the river as a result of the contamination.

3M has paid for cleanup, and for improvements to public and private water systems.

But now, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Kathy Sather, the company will be asked to pay for damage to the state's natural resources.

"Potentially groundwater, surface water, limits on fish consumptions, more environmental type impacts," she said.

Sather said the state also has an obligation to collect for damages to the state's waters.

"As we pursue this, we are going to be working with the affected communities, gathering information, and once we get that information we'll sit down and negotiate a settlement, and at that point it will become something we can share with the public," she said.

3M declined to comment.