3M Objects to Pay

3M will not pay water contamination related cost in Cottage Grove

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn.- 3M stated that it will not pay the associated cost with water contamination within Cottage Grove.

3M will not pay for the water filters, bottled water, and other cost associated with the chemicals present in Cottage Grove’s water drinking water. This is a break from past decisions made by 3M as the company has already paid close to $100 million on the cleanup effort.

The justification which 3M gave for its actions, described in a letter made public from the company’s attorneys, Brewer, Attorney’s and Counselors, they believe current cleanup costs could be the result of dumping of chemicals used by the Cottage Grove fire department. Many of the foams and chemicals used in firefighting equipment contain particles similar to those which were disposed by 3M at their Cottage Grove dumpsite. 3M also points to other dumpsites as a possible reason for the continuing pollution levels.

The chemicals in question were first discovered in the town’s drinking water in 2004, though the amount present was not determined to cause health problems. However, at the time 3M agreed to pay for water filters and a water pump system which filters the groundwater at the dumpsite and puts the clean water into the Mississippi River. It is due to the continuing use of this filter pump which causes 3M’s attorneys to conclude that the pollution is not coming from them. The attorney’s stated the water simply doesn’t flow in a pattern which would allow contamination from their dumpsite or the water which they are dumping into the Mississippi River.

Regardless, the state’s Pollution Control Agency argues that this is inconsequential. 3M produces the type of chemicals which are causing the pollution, and that it does not produce the necessary proof its chemicals are not contaminating Cottage Grove’s water supply.

“There is no new information … that has not already been investigated,” the agency said in an email to the Pioneer Press.

Henry Carras