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Environmental Health and Safety

Respecting and protecting our social and physical environment is a core value of 3M and 3M Cottage Grove. To this end, we set goals and measure our results, continuously improving our safety, health and environmental performance.

Environmental Health and Safety Management System

3M Cottage Grove EHS Management System promotes sound environmental management. It helps us to manage the environmental footprint of our operations, drive sustainable growth, and address the expectations of our stakeholders. These stakeholders include our employees, customers, regulators, environmental groups, and the communities surrounding our plant.

Our EHS Management System:

  • Includes an integrated, holistic system that anticipates and addresses long-term issues and drives continuous improvement.
  • Promotes a strategic planning process that integrates EHS issues into business planning.
  • Includes a process for identifying issues, developing formal action plans, setting goals and measuring results.

3M Environmental Policy

3M has long recognized the necessity for responsible environmental management and conservation of resources. 3M has also recognized the global nature of environmental matters and the importance of constructive cooperation in achieving international environmental conservation.

We will continue to recognize and exercise our responsibility to:

• Solve our own environmental and conservation problems.
• Develop products that support a sustainable environment.
• Prevent pollution at the source wherever and whenever possible.
• Conserve natural resources through the use of optimized manufacturing operations, reclamation and other appropriate methods.
• Assure that our facilities and products are in compliance with applicable national, regional and local environmental requirements, and in conformance with other applicable environmental obligations.
• Assist, wherever possible, governmental agencies and other official organizations engaged in environmental activities.
• Foster continual improvement through company and employee initiative.


Pollution Prevention Pays (3P) Program

Ongoing 3M programs to reduce, reuse and recycle material go a long way toward preventing waste in the first place. 3M initiatives such as 3P (Pollution Prevention Pays) help achieve our goal. Only after exhausting these options do we treat, destroy and dispose of our waste.

Our 3P program has been in place for over 35 years. From 1971 – 2005 the program has prevented over 3 billion pounds of pollutants and saved over $1 billion based on aggregated data from the first year of each 3P project. The 3P program helps prevent pollution at the source – in products and manufacturing processes – rather than removing it after it has been created.


Safety Is a Core 3M Value

3M recognizes the importance of safety and health to the community and our business success. We continually strive to improve performance and be a leader in health and safety. 3M is committed to the safety and health of all its employees and provides a safe and healthy workplace worldwide.

3M Emergency Response Team

Our Emergency Response Team of 30 to 40 employees is highly trained and equipped to handle any crisis, large or small. Medical, fire, hazardous materials, confined space rescue – they are qualified to handle them all.

The site’s full fire brigade also works closely and trains with the Cottage Grove Fire Department. Emergency squad volunteers can be called upon for community needs. Many members volunteer in their own communities, as firefighters and EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians).

3M Cottage Grove Environmental Management Systems (ISO14001) and Responsible Care
The majority of businesses at 3M Cottage Grove are ISO (International Standards Organization for Standardization) certified. ISO standards are among the most stringent global certifications for business, government and society.

In order to obtain and maintain this certification, our facilities are audited annually by a third party auditor. This assures that the plant continues to maintain the rigorous framework to achieve the highest level of environmental, health, safety and security performance.

For additional information about 3M's environmental goals and results, visit:

Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWT) Earns MPCA Award - Again!

MPCA Award 2008

Bruce Gjelhaug, 3M WWT Operations, Rebecca Flood, MPCA Assistant Commisioner, Tina Berg, 3M Environmental Chemist & Ray Yager, 3M WWT Operations

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) recently recognized 3M  Cottage Grove Center for outstanding performance in wastewater operations during 2008. The awards were announced March 26, 2009, at the 72nd Annual Wastewater Operations Conference in Brooklyn Center.

To be eligible for the award, facility operators had to comply with permit requirements throughout the year. These requirements included submitting all monitoring reports to the MPCA correctly and on time, demonstrating compliance through monitoring or in surveys and employing MPCA-certified operators.

MPCA Commissioner Paul Eger had high praise for the award recipients. “Water is one of Minnesota’s most abundant and precious resources. The diligence and cooperation of these operators will ensure that Minnesota waters are protected and preserved today — and for generations to come.”

This is the 32nd year that the MPCA has awarded certificates of commendation to wastewater treatment plants. This year, 172 Minnesota facilities were awarded certificates of commendation for meeting the agency’s criteria for excellence in operations.

Rebecca Flood, MPCA Assistant Commissioner for water policy, presented the certificates and commended the winners for their efforts to help protect and preserve Minnesota’s water resources. “Minnesotans count on being able to enjoy safe, clean lakes and rivers in their local communities,” said Assistant Commissioner Flood. “The MPCA is honored to be able to thank these operators for their dedication and diligent work toward achieving this goal.”

The conference brings together wastewater operators from all over Minnesota for training and professional education. There are about 1,300 wastewater treatment facilities in Minnesota, including municipal, industrial and some privately-operated institutional facilities. The size of the community, institution or treatment plant is not a factor in awarding the certificates of excellence.

This award recognizes that:

  •  The facility is managed by a properly certified operator.
  •  The facility did not exceed the effluent limits contained in its permit.
  •  All required monthly and annual reports were timely and complete.
  •  The facility did not experience any by-passes, enforcement actions or inspections identifying significant compliance concerns.



3M's Ongoing Environmental Success Stories

·         92 percent reduction in volatile organic air emissions since 1990.

·         84 percent reduction in manufacturing releases to water since 1990.

·         18 percent reduction in solid waste sent to landfills worldwide from 2000-2002.

·         63 percent improvement in energy efficiency at 3M's U.S. operations since 1973.

3M Cottage Grove is committed to being a responsible corporate neighbor. We have implemented a full range of policies and guidelines designed to promote effective environmental stewardship in order to keep our employees, our plant and our community safe, and to minimize our impacts on the environment. Our corporate responsibility calls for us to continue developing products that have a minimum effect on the environment. In addition, 3M Cottage Grove has completed a number of facility and process upgrades to safeguard the security of our plant. We are also committed to providing our own emergency response team (E-squad) with the tools and training they need to respond to an emergency situation on or off the plant site.


3M Cottage Grove Environmental Management Systems (ISO14001) and Responsible Care®

3M Cottage Grovecurrently has 6 businesses certified to the ISO14001 standard.

·         Automotive

·         Corporate Incinerator

·         Cubitron Abrasives

·         Film Manufacturing

·         Materials Resource Division / Specialty Additives

·         Tape Manufacturing

In 2008, Cottage Grove Materials Resource Division (MRD) facility implemented the Responsible Care® initiative, which includes measuring and publicly reporting EHS performance, implementing the Responsible Care Security Code, and adopting the RC-14001 Management System.  Cottage Grove MRD Plant received certification for RC14001®, which combines the ACC’s Responsible Care Management System (RCMS®), ISO 14001, and the Environmental Management System, into a single process.   This process extends the scope of the environmental management system, to areas such as occupational health and safety, transportation safety, security, product stewardship and community outreach.

In order to obtain, and maintain, this certification, the facilities are audited annually by the third party auditor to assure that the plant continues to have in place the rigorous framework to achieve the high level of environmental, health, safety and security performance required by ISO and ACC standards.

Through Responsible Care, ACC member companies across the United Statesincluding the MRD Plant have contributed to the following successes:

To get more information concerning RC14001® at 3M Cottage Groveplease contact us.


3M Cottage Grove Environmental Management Systems (ISO14001) and Responsible Care Section. 

After the MRD Responsible Care write-up and before the "To get more information concerning RC14001 at 3M Cottage Grove please contact us", remove the "Through Responsible Care, ACC Member companies across the United States including the MRD Plant have contributed to the following successes" paragraph and add RC policy as stated below:

MRD Responsible Care Policy

3M MRD Cottage Grove  will continue to recognize and exercise its responsibility to:

·         Solve its own environmental pollution and conservation problems.

·         Prevent pollution at the source wherever and whenever possible.

·         Develop products that will have a minimum effect on the environment.

·         Conserve natural resources through the use of reclamation and other appropriate methods.

·         Assure that its facilities and products meet and sustain the regulations of all federal, state, and local agencies.

·         Assist, wherever possible, governmental agencies and other official organizations engaged in EHS&S activities.

·         Support a commitment to continual EHS&S improvement consistent with its mission and vision.

·         Set and review EHS&S objectives and targets appropriate to its activities, products and services.

·         Support Guiding Principles of Responsible Care.

·         Recognize the importance of and commitment to providing a safe, secured and healthful work place for all of its employees.


3M Cottage Grove Center Health and Safety Policy
Our Health and Safety Policy closely parallels the corporate policy - we are committed to the health and safety of all employees and will provide a safe and healthy workplace. In turn, our employees must be accountable for their own personal safety and health, and must be committed to:

Incorporating appropriate safety and health considerations into daily job duties and business decisions.
Meeting or exceeding applicable health and safety laws and regulations, the requirements of 3M's Global Safety and Health Plan, and other related 3M Policies and Standards.
Designing, maintaining and operating equipment, facilities and processes in a safe manner.
Developing and participating in training and education programs to manage health and safety risks both on and off the job.
Communicating with management and fellow employees about working conditions perceived to be unsafe or hazardous and, as appropriate, shutting down any operation deemed to be operating in an unsafe condition.
Sharing the results and conclusions of safety and health studies and contributing to the actions taken.
Participating in safety incident and illness investigations, audits and follow-up activities.

Ensuring Security
The 3M Cottage Grove Site Security team continues to make improvements designed to ensure a safe and secure facility.  Recently the front entrance was improved with the installation of new roadways and additional gates.  New gate entry procedures were also put into effect.

24 Hour a Day Surveillance
As part of the plant’s upgraded system, additional security cameras were installed to record all activities at the perimeter 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  According to Tim O’Neill, the Site Security Supervisor, all camera data is digitally recorded and available for review.  Additional lighting and fence improvements were also added.

“The upgraded security system provides absolute access control for all employees, visitors, contractors and transportation personnel at the site perimeter,” Tim says.  “The end result is that no person has access past the perimeter of the site without clearance by security.”

Daily Visitor Vehicle Inspections
The 3M Cottage Grove security team performs vehicle and truck inspections as needed, scans and processes drivers’ licenses into a permanent security database and responds to any badge alarms.  “The officers of 3M Cottage Grove security process all non-approved personnel at the main Security building,” Tim says. “Following approval and authorization, these personnel are issued a temporary electronic badge for the specific areas they need to access.”

3M Emergency Response Team Prepared for Virtually Any Crisis
Each month the plant’s Emergency Response Team – the E-squad – participates in a variety of training exercises.  The team knows the value this additional training and expertise brings to their jobs and to their community.  Routine training ensures they are prepared to respond to a wide range of emergency calls including hazardous material cleanup, confined space rescues and fire fighting.  Members of the team are also trained to use an automatic external defibrillator if called to respond to a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. At 3M, the goal is prevention, but if there is an emergency we are prepared.

Many of our E-squad members serve as volunteer fire fighters in their communities.  What’s more, the E-squad conducts joint training with the Cottage Grove fire department.  3M’s E-squad has been an important part of the plant’s safety program for 50 years.

If you have any questions contact 3M.





For information about jobs at 3M, visit our 3M Careers website.