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Minnesota bringing in "cutting-edge" tech to remove PFAS from east metro water, MPCA says

New Dashboard Shows PFAS Monitoring Results For Minnesota’s Drinking Water
New Dashboard Shows PFAS Monitoring Results For Minnesota’s Drinking Water 00:54

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota is bringing in "state-of-the-art technology" to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances from contaminated water in the east metro, pollution control officials announced Monday.

According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the new tech will be deployed this fall as part of ongoing work to address PFAS contamination, which affects the drinking water for around 174,000 residents.

"This pilot project marks the beginning of a new era for PFAS clean-up in Minnesota," said MPCA Commissioner Katrina Kessler. "This study will help us address PFAS contamination at the source and develop long-term solutions for cleaner water - ensuring safe drinking water for Minnesotans. We hope to eventually employ this technology around the state including in Greater Minnesota, where PFAS is a growing concern."

RELATED: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency widens monitoring on PFAs

Officials say the process works in two parts. A surface activated foam fractionation, or SAFF, will inject outside air into contaminated water, which will turn PFAS into foam that can be separated from the water. Once removed, the PFAS levels will be significantly reduced and the water is returned to the environment cleaner and safer, according to the MPCA.

"The PFAS concentrate then goes to the DEFLUORO unit, a second technology where the carbon-fluorine bonds (the backbone of PFAS chemicals) are broken through electrochemical oxidation," MPCA said in a release.

RELATED: New dashboard shows PFAS monitoring results for Minnesota's drinking water

MPCA says Minnesota is the first state government in the nation to use this combination of technologies to address PFAS, also known as "forever chemicals."

PFAS were manufactured by 3M for decades and legally dumped in different sites in the east metro. Some got into the drinking water in the area. The new tech was paid for with funds from the $850 million 3M settlement in 2018

The SAFF unit will be deployed in Lake Elmo's Tablyn Park for the first round of testing. It's currently en route to Minnesota from Australia and is expected to arrive in November.

The DEFLUORO unit will be staged at the former Washington County landfill location.

More information on PFAS here

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