March 29, 2018 06:11 AM
The Minnesota Department of Health has told KSTP the water well shut down by the city of Lake Elmo Wednesday had poor test results for perfluorochemicals (PFCs) for the past 12 months.
However, MDH spokesperson Doug Schultz said the drinking water has been safe that entire time because the city's other two wells tested fine, and the health risks for exposure to PFCs are gauged on long-term samples.
"We test the wells in the Lake Elmo area on a quarterly basis, and that particular well did show high levels of PFCs for four consecutive quarters, or one year," Schultz said.
"But you have to keep in mind that the possible health risks of PFCs are based on long-term exposure and not acute, or short-term exposure."
Schultz said there are no immediate health risks for the people who have been using water from that well, and it is still safe.
Lake Elmo resident Barry Clancy said he is a bit concerned to hear that the well tested poorly for a year, and he will take precautionary measures for his family in the future.
"I mean if it tested bad a year ago, it certainly was testing bad six months ago, and that's just crazy," Clancy said. "It would have been nice to know this sooner, and it is a little bit frightening when you do not know the exact science behind all of it."
In addition to shutting down the well, city leaders in Lake Elmo are trying to figure out how to move forward after losing two of the city's four water wells over the past decade.
City Administrator Kristina Handt said the city will monitor the two remaining wells closely, and if things get a little tight, they will have to order water restrictions.
"Depending on how things go, time of day and the time of year, we might have to cut back water usage," Handt said. "And we will get a generator on one of those two remaining wells, just in case we have a power outage."
When asked to describe the situation for Lake Elmo's water supply if one of the two remaining wells went down for any length of time, Handt said it would be "dire."
3M recently settled an $850 million environmental lawsuit with the state of Minnesota to help mitigate the PFC problem, but said there is no evidence to scientifically prove that PFCs cause any serious health problems in humans.
Handt said the city will be pushing hard to get the state to release some of that settlement money sooner to help with some of the extra costs connected to shutting down two of its water wells.
Updated: March 29, 2018 06:11 AM
Created: March 28, 2018 07:11 PM
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