National Driller September 2005 e-Newsletter

According to an Associated Press report, 3M Co. is giving the city of Lake Elmo, Minn., $3.3 million for public water extensions to two neighborhoods where contaminated water was found in private wells.

The water supply will be extended from a water tower to the Tablyn Park and Lake Elmo Heights neighborhoods. Both neighborhoods are about five miles south of a new 500,000-gallon tower planned nearby.

The money also will be used to seal off about 214 private wells in the two neighborhoods.

Last spring, health officials discovered at least 12 homes in the Tablyn Park area had unsafe levels of perfluorochemicals, or PFCs, once commonly used by 3M for products that resist heat, oil and stains. That number has since risen to 20 homes.

Mayor Dean Johnston called the agreement with 3M an exciting development and a "classic example of the way governments should be working."

Bill Nelson, a 3M spokesman, said the company approached Lake Elmo after deciding that public water would be a better long-term solution than others, such as carbon filters.

"We want people to be able to turn on the tap water and have peace of mind," Nelson said.

Earlier this year, 3M donated the land where the tower will be built to the city, but company officials said the tower and grant money were not linked.

3M also is designing, building and operating a filter for an Oakdale city well. Last January, health officials discovered that five Oakdale wells contain PFCs, though the trace levels were considered safe for drinking.