East Metro Residents Have Water-Testing Worries Following State Claims Against 3M

November 27, 2017 10:52 PM

Last week, the state of Minnesota leveled new claims in an ongoing lawsuit against 3M, saying the Maplewood-based company contaminated groundwater in communities throughout the east metro, causing higher cancer rates and premature births. 

The new claims have prompted some questions and concerns from residents who live near the alleged contamination sites.


For instance, Mary Vetscher, a relative of a KSTP newsroom employee, was relieved when she learned the well water she uses in her West Lakeland home was outside the area of concern.

RELATED: State Blames 3M for Causing Higher Cancer Rates, Premature Births in East Metro

"I had seen the maps," she said. "I thought we were safe."

But over the weekend she received a letter from the Minnesota Department of Health explaining the agency wanted to investigate the presence of potentially hazardous Perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, in her groundwater. And then Monday morning, her address was added to one of the areas on the map that indicated required testing.

The Minnesota Department of Health said the map changes on a regular basis. It's updated every few weeks depending on the amount and movement of groundwater in the area.

About 100 other residents received letters like Vetscher's over the weekend; since May, batches of the letters have been sent out on an as-needed basis. The health department has been targeting areas that may need water testing since federal and state guidelines changed last spring.

RELATED: 3M: Pension Plan Under Investigation by Labor Department

"Either way, I want to know," Vetscher said. "You don't want these PFCs floating around in your water, whether it's in the shower or cooking or anything else." 

A spokesperson for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says if you're concerned about water testing and contamination levels, keep checking the map for updates. 


Ellen Galles

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