February 22, 2018 09:38 AM
The Minnesota DNR and the state's Pollution Control Agency began talks Wednesday with seven cities and two townships named in the state's $850 million settlement with 3M Co.
The Minnesota Attorney General announced the settlement Tuesday, after the state sued the company for chemicals dumped by 3M decades ago into east metro landfills.
Afton, Newport, St. Paul Park, Cottage Grove, Woodbury, Oakdale and Lake Elmo are the seven cities listed in the settlement, and are guaranteed to get some of the settlement money along with the townships of West Lakeland and Grey Cloud Island.
All those communities were on the conference call with state officials.
Lake Elmo city administrator Kristina Handt said the talks were productive. But there are still a lot of unanswered questions.
"We are grateful that the DNR and MPCA talked with all of us," she said. "But they are just getting the process established, and we do not know yet what will be available to us from the settlement. And we do not yet know when we will be receiving the money to help us make sure our residents have safe, clean drinking water moving forward.
"Ideally, we would love to have all of our Lake Elmo residents on our city water system, but it comes down to costs."
Cottage Grove mayor Myron Bailey said his city will be eyeing a new wastewater treatment facility, and the city plans on submitting a request with the state to cover the costs from the settlement money.
"We will be making a request for somewhere between $50 and $60 million for a wastewater treatment facility," Bailey said in an email exchange Wednesday.
The only other city that responded with specifics on their plans for the settlement money Wednesday was St. Paul Park. The city manager indicated the city will probably ask for a minimum of $15 million for improvements to its wells.
A Woodbury spokesperson said the city had not yet formalized any proposals, and did not have a specific dollar amount in mind yet.
KSTP also tried unsuccessfully to get specific plans from Oakdale, Afton, Newport, West Lakeland Township and Grey Cloud Island Township.
Separate from the 3M settlement announced Wednesday is a Lake Elmo lawsuit against the Maplewood-based company for $25 million in costs associated with chemical issues in the city's groundwater.
That suit remains open and pending.
Updated: February 22, 2018 09:38 AM
Created: February 21, 2018 09:30 PM
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