MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Work will soon begin to provide clean water and sustainability to areas in the East Metro that were involved in the 3M lawsuit.
3M had been legally dumping chemicals called PFCs for decades. The state sued the company for $5 billion for contamination, saying the chemicals caused higher rates of cancer and premature births. The two sides reached a settlement Tuesday for $850 million.
“It’s the biggest environmental settlement in the history of Minnesota so it’s a significant amount of money and one that will get remedies and relief,” Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said.
Speaking at the State Capitol Building Wednesday, state officials discussed a number of possibilities on how to use the 3M settlement funds to treat water in the east metro. They included long-term projects like connecting residents to new municipal water systems, and in-home treatment systems.
“The water comes in through the city and runs through here,” Joby Randrup, from Cottage Grove, said about the special filter he uses.
It’s a granular activated carbon filter to get the PFC’s out of the water the Randrups drinks and use. They take precautions but do not want to uproot their family to move.
“We really like it here,” Amy Randrup said. “We like Cottage Grove, the kids love their school, everything is great except the water.”
But it’s not just people affected by the chemicals. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr says $20 million from the settlement will go to immediately addressing the fish and wildlife in the east metro.
“We’re going to assemble a group .to talk about what the options would be,” Landwehr said.
After the settlement was announced 3M said that it doesn’t believe PFC’s are a public health issue, but that it would work with the state on these important projects.