By Jeff Wagner

LAKE ELMO, Minn. (WCCO) — Concerns over chemicals in the water is forcing a Twin Cities town to take one of its wells and towers offline. People living in Lake Elmo got an alert Tuesday of high levels of perfluorochemical, or PFCs, in some of its water according to a report from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Some homeowners have also been complaining about their water being brown. For 10 minutes Wednesday, homeowner Ernie Bruckner will have to run the water in his home until it clears.

“And where shall we send the bill?” he joked.

It’s part of the alert Lake Elmo sent out after learning it had high levels of PFCs in one of its wells within the past year.

“What people should remember is that these are the new 2017 health based values where the Department of Health lowered the value recently, and their studies showed that there were only impacts if this was consumed over a lifespan,” said Kristinia Handt, City Administrator.

Handt says because of that, homeowners like Bruckner shouldn’t be concerned.

The flushing process residents are being told to do isn’t related to PFCs — but an issue involving brown water.

“Hopefully that will eliminate the problem,” said Gail Bruckner. “I mean, not only for us but the whole neighborhood and the whole town.”

Lake Elmo has an ongoing lawsuit with 3M, the company that used PFCs to make some of its products and legally dumped the chemicals in the ground.

The state sued the company for contamination, saying PFCs caused higher rates of cancer. 3M recently settled with the state for $850 million.

“We’re fortunate that when PFCs first came into Lake Elmo about decade ago that the council was very proactive and we’ve put in these two other wells in the northern part of our community that are in clean water areas,” said Handt.

Bruckner and his wife Gail are confident Lake Elmo has safe water, but any mention of PFCs grabs their attention.

“I’ve had cancer and I don’t know, I’m not blaming the water for that but I certainly don’t want to have to be worried about it,” said Gail.

The city will take well No. 1 and water tower No. 1 offline from 8 a.m. until noon. Residents are asked to flush their water in the afternoon. Anyone with questions regarding brown water can call the city’s public works department at 651-747-3940.

There will also be an open house to address the 3M lawsuit settlement April 12 at Oakdale Middle School. It runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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