Minnesota regulators are broadening their search for sites contaminated by a class of industrial chemicals known as PFAS, which have turned into a major environmental threat across the country.
It’s a major step in the state’s effort to contain pollution by the so-called “forever chemicals,” a project that until now has focused mainly on the east metro communities where 3M Co. made and disposed of such compounds for several decades.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will expand the hunt to four counties, using a list of industries that have historically used the chemicals in their operations. The agency plans to sample local water first, then contact companies. The companies involved may have used products containing PFAS without knowing it.
“The goal is to make sure we know in Minnesota theoretically where it could be used, and check on it,” said MPCA Assistant Commissioner Kirk Koudelka, “just to make sure we’re not having any gaps.”