LAKE ELMO, Minn. (FOX 9) – The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced on Monday the purchase of state-of-the-art technology aimed at “permanently removing and destroying chemicals” from contaminated water in the environment. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, are associated with serious health problems.
State officials say the technology is being used in the East Metro, where the drinking water of about 174,000 residents has been affected by PFAS contamination. The system is paid for with funds from the 3M settlement, which covers the remediation of contaminated sites.
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The technology will work in two parts: injecting outside air into contaminated water using SAFF technology to convert PFAS into foam that can be separated from the water, then the concentrate is transported to a DEFLUORO unit which is the backbone of the PFAS -Decomposes chemicals.
The first phase of groundwater and surface water testing will begin at Tablelyn Park in Lake Elmo before moving to other testing sites over the next two years, the agency said.
“Lake Elmo has been ground zero for PFAS contamination for years,” said Lake Elmo City Council member Jeff Holtz. “The City of Lake Elmo is pleased to be collaborating with the MPCA on the pilot study. Tablelyn Park offers a unique opportunity to test this PFAS destruction technology on both groundwater and surface water sources. We look forward to learning more about how it can enhance our valuable natural resources.”
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Minnesota is reportedly the first state government to acquire the combination of technologies to combat PFAS contamination.
“The pilot marks the beginning of a new era for PFAS cleaning in Minnesota,” MPCA Commissioner Katrina Kessler said in a prepared statement. “This study will help us address PFAS contamination at the source and develop long-term cleaner water solutions – to ensure safe drinking water for Minnesotans. We hope to eventually deploy this technology statewide, including in the Minnesota metropolitan area where PFAS is a growing problem.”
The SAFF unit is en route from Australia and is expected to arrive in Minnesota next month. The DELFLUORO unit will be built on the former Washington County Landfill.
State officials said none of the water used in the pilot test is connected to the city’s drinking water, which they say remains safe.