Residents of south Washington County who live in or near areas where groundwater has been contaminated with perfluorochemicals (PFCs) will have an opportunity to ask questions about PFCs and discuss this issue one-on-one with staff from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Washington County at two public meetings Sept. 19 and Sept. 26.
The meetings will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 19 at Oak-Land Junior High (cafeteria) in Lake Elmo and 6-9 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Cottage Grove City Hall (Training Room). The meetings will be held as "office-hours", with no formal presentations, to give residents ample time to discuss their individual situations with staff. Informational materials will also be available.
The affected areas are primarily in southern-most Cottage Grove, Grey Cloud Island Township, southern Lake Elmo, and the west edge of West Lakeland Township. In August, MDH sent letters to about 80 private well owners in those areas informing them that water from their wells had levels of one or both of two PFCs, known as PFOS and PFOA, above a recently revised Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lifetime health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt). Those residents will receive bottled water until carbon filters can be installed in their homes to remove the PFCs.
In the coming months, staff from MPCA and MDH will sample and test water from 400 to 500 additional homes in the affected areas to determine if others have water above the advisory level and are also eligible for bottled water and carbon filters. The sample results will also be used to determine if additional wells need to be tested.
PFC groundwater contamination resulted from landfilling and disposal of the chemicals at several locations in the county. Residents in the affected area who have questions or concerns about their health or their water can find information on the MDH website at Perfluorochemicals (PFCs) in Minnesota or may call 651-201-4897.