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PFAS stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The 3M Company made PFAS at its Cottage Grove facility from the late 1940s until 2002. They were commonly used in household and industrial products such as stain repellents, lubricants, fire retardant and suppressants and more. PFAS wastes were disposed of at various locations in Washington County. The source of PFAS in the Oakdale’s groundwater has been identified as these disposal sites.
Yes, the water the city delivers to citizens meets all State of Minnesota and federal standards and guidelines for PFAS.
The city has nine wells. Water from two of the wells is treated by the city’s water treatment facility. Three other wells have no detection or levels below the allowable thresholds of PFAS. Water from these wells is enough to meet daily demands for the community. The remaining four city wells currently exceed PFAS water quality standards and guidelines. The city is evaluating options to address them, in cooperation with the MN Department of Health.
In 2006, a 7,000 square foot water treatment facility was constructed at the Oakdale Public Works campus. The facility uses a granular-activated carbon (GAC) system to remove PFAS, and produces 2,400 gallons per minute of filtered water. GAC is made from organic materials that are high in carbon. Heat, in the absence of oxygen, is used to increase (activate) the surface area of the carbon. The activated carbon removes certain chemicals that are dissolved in water passing through a filter containing GAC by trapping (adsorbing) the chemical in the GAC.
More information is available on the MDH PFAS sites webpage and PFAS page, and the State of Minnesota’s website dedicated to the settlement with 3M and the process for identifying long-term treatment solutions