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Oakdale, MN

Information about PFOS and PFOA


Beginning in the 1940's and ending in 1960, various haulers deposited household, municipal and industrial waste at the Abresch site in Oakdale. The site is between Hadley Avenue and Granada Avenue along Minnesota Highway 5.

1957 Aerial Photograph
(Click to enlarge)

3M used the Abresch site between 1956 and 1960 for industrial waste. The site received waste from 3M’s St. Paul tape plant and 3M Cottage Grove. 3M sent solvents and other waste from its manufacturing processes to the site. At the time, landfills were considered an appropriate method of disposal for industrial waste.

In the early 1980’s, 3M learned that solvents from the former disposal site had been detected in some nearby private wells. Follow-up work involved an extensive collection of data and a clean-up from 1983 to 1985. Thousands of yards of waste material, impacted soil, drums and pails were removed. Following the physical removal of material, 3M installed a pump out system to collect groundwater. This system was effective in preventing solvents from getting into municipal wells.

The current system is a network of 50 monitoring wells and 10 pump-out wells. Data from these wells are regularly submitted to the MPCA.

The current system is a network of 50 monitoring wells and 10 pump-out wells. Data from these wells are regularly submitted to the MPCA.

Capture Zone of the Existing Shallow Groundwater Pumping Wells
(Click to enlarge)

In late 2004, PFOS and PFOA were detected in the Oakdale site pump out system discharge water and in some Oakdale municipal wells. 3M initiated a comprehensive soil and groundwater study of the site. In early 2005, the company began discussions with the City of Oakdale regarding a carbon treatment system for any municipal well that exceeded state guidelines for PFOS or PFOA. A system to treat two municipal wells was built at 3M’s expense and became operational in October of 2006. The system is regularly monitored by the City of Oakdale, Minnesota Department of Health and 3M. The drinking water in Oakdale is safe.

In 2007, 3M signed an agreed Consent Order with the MPCA and conducted further sampling so that an effective clean-up plan focusing on PFC’s could be developed. By late 2007, 3M submitted the data and a proposed work plan to MPCA. The MPCA issued its selection of a remedy for the Oakdale site

Reference: Minnesota Decision Document (PDF, 641 KB)

Update on Physical Work:

The cleanup plan for PFCs at the Oakdale site will include soil removal and the removal and treatment of groundwater. These two methods working together will provide an effective means for removing PFCs from the environment. The groundwater phase has begun with the installation of additional wells. The treatment facility at the site was approved by the City of Oakdale in the spring of 2009 and construction is expected to be completed by early 2010. 

Preparations for the soil removal phase began in 2008 with the installation of a soil vapor extraction system. The SVE system was to collect vapors underground that may come from remaining solvents at the site. At one of the public meetings it was learned that vapors released during the 1980’s cleanup activities were able to be detected by nearby residents. Although these vapors did not pose a health risk, their presence was an inconvenience. The SVE continues to operate at the site and will continue through the remainder of 2009.

The soil removal phase, which will be contained to the areas of the former disposal site north of Highway 5, is expected to begin in early 2010.

To provide feedback to 3M during any part of the project, the team can be reached by:

Contact Us

U.S. mail:
3M Environmental Communications
St. Paul, MN 55144-1000