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Chemical Foam In Twin Cities Waterways Sparks Warning From MPCA, MDH

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) --The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health are warning residents about a chemical foam forming in some Twin Cities waterways.

It has a high concentration of PFAS, which is a family of chemicals used in products like Teflon and fabric coating.

The MPCA and MDH found the foam on two separate creeks: Raleigh Creek in Washington County and Battle Creek in Ramsey County.

Oakdale resident Bill Weiss is one of 37 homeowners who will get a letter from the state pollution control agency this week. The state found a chemical foam forming on Raleigh Creek, which touches Weiss' backyard.

"Just to hear the fact that they're checking into it is good to hear," Weiss said.

PFAS foam can be harmful if its ingested by people, pets or wildlife.

"Where we had those higher elevations on the surface water is pointed towards the Oakdale facility still having a release of PFAS through the surface water," MPCA Assistant Commissioner Kirk Koudelka said.

3M PFAS Foam
(credit: CBS)

The state suspects the Raleigh Creek PFAS foam is coming from the 3M Oakdale Disposal Facility. The foam was found during ongoing testing as part of a 3M resources damages settlement.

"I don't know if I'm completely surprised, but I don't know if I like the sound of it if they're finding something again. What does that mean?" Weiss said.

3M released this statement to WCCO:

3M is committed to continuing our working relationship with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to monitor former disposal sites. We will review the MPCA's full report and take appropriate steps consistent with our regulatory obligations and our commitment to environmental stewardship.

MDH also found PFAS foam here on Battle Creek in Ramsey County, but they haven't pinpointed the source yet.

A WCCO crew spotted foam on Battle Creek Tuesday. Officials say there's no way to tell the difference between PFAS foam and naturally-occurring foam. So to be safe, avoid the foam and wash it off if you or your pet comes in contact.

"We don't have pets, but I certainly won't go messing around in that pond," Weiss said.

The state says it's difficult to clean up the foam because it reforms. There will be more in-depth testing to understand the full extent of the problem and where its coming from.


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