Fluoride Action Network

Minnesota: 3M soil removal underway in Oakdale

Source: Oakdale Lake Elmo Review.com | Staff writer
Posted on March 2nd, 2011
Industry type: Perfluorinated chemicals

A large soil excavation is underway on 3M-owned property at Highway 5 and Granada Avenue in Oakdale.

Soil is being removed because 3M and other companies used the area, at the northeast corner of the intersection, to dispose of industrial waste from the 1940s to the 1960s.”Everything at this point is on schedule at this time, and we’re pleased with the project,” he said.

Volatile organic compounds, which are part of household products such as paint thinner, were removed from the site in the early 1980s.

However, perfluorochemicals (PFCs) were recently found at the site, causing 3M to work with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to contain and remove them.

PFCs were produced from the late 1940s through 2002 by 3M at its plant in Cottage Grove and used for products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water, such as nonstick cookware and stain-resistant carpets. The company started to phase out the chemicals in 2000, and ended their production in 2002.

The recent project started in December 2010; digging began in January. 3M project manager Jim Kotsmith predicts the work will be completed in May.

In 2008, 3M started the process by expanding on-site groundwater extraction wells to capture more PFCs and allow for a water treatment system to be installed on the south side of Highway 5 at Granada. 3M completed that system last spring, and there is a water treatment facility located on Oakdale’s Public Works campus near City Hall as well.

All the projects are funded by 3M.

Soil with the highest concentration of PFCs is being removed from the site and taken to a landfill in Rosemount. An estimated 26,000 cubic yards of soil will be removed, Kotsmith said.

The Rosemount site is specially lined to house the soil and to capture anything that leaches from it. Soil from other similar projects in the east metro, such as the Washington County Landfill clean-up in Lake Elmo, is taken to Rosemount, he said.

Workers are at the site Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and trucks haul soil from there only between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Once the undertaking is completed, Kotsmith said the land will look similar to its original state as open space, and 3M will work with the city to replant trees.