MPCA unveils new monitoring system for PFAS

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) on Tuesday announced a new statewide monitoring system for a specific set of manmade chemicals.

The agency says per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) include nearly 5,000 synthetic chemicals that are resistant to heat, water, and oil and are commonly used in carpeting, food packaging, and waterproof clothing.

The chemicals have been linked to health problems such as high cholesterol and certain types of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

According to the MPCA, the PFAS monitoring plan will start by focusing on water testing and air emissions reporting at 379 facilities across the state. Those selected facilities aren’t necessarily releasing PFAS but have been identified as potential emitters and will be monitored, the agency noted.

Those selected facilities will be asked to collect samples and report information to the MPCA by the end of 2023, with the agency reporting its findings in 2024.

The list of facilities includes eight regional airports in Greater Minnesota — located in Bemidji, Brainerd, Duluth, International Falls, Hibbing, Rochester, St. Cloud, and Thief River Falls — as well as 91 wastewater treatment plants, six of which are Metropolitan Council facilities in the Twin Cities metro. Another 137 facilities are being asked to conduct additional monitoring, the MPCA says.

“Twelve months ago, Minnesota laid out a comprehensive, long-term plan to protect families and communities from harmful PFAS contamination,” MPCA Commissioner Katrina Kessler said in a statement. “This monitoring plan is the next phase of our commitment to better understand where and how PFAS is entering Minnesota’s environment.”

The MPCA called the plan one of the most comprehensive approaches in the country to understanding PFAS in our environment.

Environment Minnesota ( – an organization pushing for cleaner air, land, and water – called the plan a step in the right direction for Minnesota families.

“Clean water is essential to the health of the people of Minnesota,” John Rumpler, Environment Minnesota’s Clean Water Program Director, said.

Rumpler also added that PFAS and all ‘forever chemicals’ – as they’re referred to as well – should not be used at all. “We need to move away from them as quickly as we can so that we can have safe drinking water and safeguard our health,” he said.

More information on the plan can be found online.