3M Cottage Grove is an operating manufacturing site within 3M’s global network of plant facilities. It is located adjacent to the Mississippi River and near the intersection of Innovation Road (County Highway 19) and U.S. 61.
The site is host to several manufacturing divisions and pilot plant operations. Products from 3M Cottage Grove are shipped all over the world. The plant began operations in 1948 and now encompasses 1750 acres.
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During its nearly 60 years of operations, the site has used a variety of methods and technologies to manage waste generated during manufacturing processes. By 1975, 3M’s corporate incinerator was fully online. This facility destroys hazardous waste from 3M plants in the U.S. including materials generated at 3M Cottage Grove. The site also has a waste water treatment plant that processes water prior to its discharge to the Mississippi River. This operation is permitted by the MPCA.
Past methods of disposal also included placing manufacturing sludges and other solid waste in on-site disposal areas. This practice ended in the early 1970's. These previous disposal areas became the focus of the company’s perfluorochemical investigation in 2005. Since 2005, 3M has collected over 1000 samples of soil, groundwater, sediment and river water on or near the Cottage Grove plant site. The results of these samples have been submitted to the MPCA.
In 2007, 3M signed a Settlement Agreement and Consent Order with the MPCA regarding the former disposal areas at 3M Cottage Grove (and two other former disposal sites in the East Metro). The Consent Order established a process for 3M to submit data reports (known as a remedial investigation or RI) to the State and proposed work plans to manage PFCs that may be present at each site. The work plans are called feasibility studies (FS). The RI and FS for Cottage Grove have been approved.
Reference: Minnesota Decision Document (PDF, 866 KB)
3M and the MPCA have each held public meetings in Cottage Grove regarding the proposed cleanup plans for the former disposal areas at the plant site. The plans involve soil removal and enhancing the network of groundwater wells to prevent the migration of fluorochemicals offsite.
On an ongoing basis residents can submit their comments to 3M by:
3M Environmental Communications
St. Paul, MN 55144-1000