3M and PFC groundwater contamination in Minnesota

PFC levels force shutdown of Lake Elmo well, tower

The city of Lake Elmo is taking one of its wells and a water tower offline because of elevated levels of chemicals in the water.

The city received notice from the Minnesota Department of Health that well No. 1 exceeded the state's health values for perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, said City Administrator Kristina Handt. Those values were lowered in 2017.

"The values are based upon people's lifetime exposure to these chemicals, so there's not an immediate risk to our residents given the short amount of time they would have been exposed to it," Handt said.

Lake Elmo already had to build two other wells in the southern part of the city due to PFC contamination, Handt said. She said the city will pull water from those wells.

"This will be a short-term fix for us, likely maybe one, two years at the max," she said. "Then we will be in the position of needing another well or having treated PFC-contaminated wells."

The state of Minnesota recently reached an $850 million settlement with 3M over groundwater contamination from PFCs in the east metro. Handt said the city hopes to have its costs reimbursed by the state.

Some Lake Elmo residents also have noticed brown water from their taps due to recent construction that disturbed an old water main.

The city will be flushing the water tower and main to correct that problem. Residents should run their water using cold water for about 10 minutes until the water clears.

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