Wednesday, January 15, 2020
You've probably seen some environmental issues in our district pop up in the news lately. In 2019, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) confirmed elevated levels of long-lasting industrial chemicals that have harmful health effects, called PFAS, in foam at two creeks in Washington and Ramsey Counties. I've been working closely with the MPCA and the Department of Health, which are working to ensure continued safe drinking water.
Battle Creek is one of the impacted areas
Beginning in the 1950s, 3M produced PFAS compounds in the eastern Twin Cities for decades. Waste containing PFAS chemicals was legally disposed of in landfills in the eastern metro area, where the chemicals seeped into the groundwater, and contaminated the drinking water supplies of several communities.
As part of a $850 million settlement with 3M, the MPCA is investigating how a large project completed in the late 1980s is contributing to PFAS. So far, PFAS have been found in Raleigh Creek in Washington County and Battle Creek in Ramsey County.
Low concentrations were found in Battle Creek surface water, and extremely low concentrations were found in Battle Creek Lake - it is the foam that is more dangerous because it contains a higher concentration of PFAS.
State officials are warning people to avoid the contaminated foam, to wash thoroughly if they come in contact with it and to keep their pets away from water where they see it.
You can read more from the Star Tribune here and MPR here.
Though not all foam contains PFAS, foam in the impacted areas is more likely than surface water to contain the harmful chemicals.
The next steps are to:
I am working with Senator Foung Hawj and Representatives Tou Xiong and Steve Sandell to host a community town hall on the issue and am advocating for the MPCA and Department of Health to send notifications to people living around Battle Creek so that our community can have the most up-to-date information available.
Rep. Jay Xiong