PFAS Contamination: Is the Water in Woodbury, MN Safe to Drink?

Woodbury gets its tap water supply from the Jordan aquifer. As precipitation soaks through the soil, groundwater moves through an aquifer, finally resurfacing to feed springs and wells. PFAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, have been found in Woodbury’s groundwater source over the last few years. Widely used in manufacturing and consumer goods, PFAS are artificial bioaccumulative and bio-persistent substances that remain in organisms indefinitely without disintegrating. 

The southeast Twin Cities suburb is taking emergency measures to combat the so-called “forever chemicals” contamination, resulting in the shutdown of several wells. Woodbury’s plans for a temporary treatment plant, projected to finalize in 2025, will help remove the chemicals and ensure the city has enough clean water to meet user demand.

Why Does Woodbury, MN, Have Water Quality Problems?

Officials in Woodbury declared an emergency in 2020 after 7 of the city’s 19 wells were taken offline due to having PFAS levels that exceeded Department of Health thresholds. PFAS chemical contamination was linked to materials dumped decades ago at landfills East Metro disposal sites by the 3M Cottage Grove facility.

The emergency action established plans to construct a new filtration plant northwest of Woodbury City Hall, near the closed-down water wells. This was after Minnesota settled an $850 million lawsuit against 3M in February 2018. The state’s attorney general alleged that the manufacturing company’s production of PFCs, now referred to as PFAS, had contaminated drinking water in the Woodbury Metro area.

How Do You Get Exposed to PFAS?

PFAS can be released into the soil, waters, and air by manufacturing processes, waste storage, and treatment facilities. Petroleum terminals, chemical manufacturers, plastics manufacturing sites, paint producers, as well as electrical component and metal product manufacturers are linked to PFAS discharge.

As such, you risk exposure if you consume farm produce, game animals, or fish cultivated or reared in or around PFAS-contaminated soil or water. Consumer products, like food packaging, water-repellent clothing, or stain-resistant upholstery, may expose people to PFAS. PFAS can also be found in cleaning products, grease-resistant paper, and nonstick cookware, including personal care products, such as nail polish, shampoo, and eye makeup.

Drinking contaminated private or municipal well water also increases your risk of getting exposed to PFAS substances. Exposures expected to be minor are breathing in fine water droplets and through skin contact, for example, when washing dishes or showering.

What Are the Health Effects of PFAS?

Exposure to PFAS in minute amounts may not cause adverse health problems. However, extreme chemical levels in the body have been linked to a compromised immune system, thyroid disease, kidney disease, and high cholesterol. These “forever chemicals” have been linked to increased cancer cases, too.

As endocrine disruptors, PFAS interfere with our hormonal mechanisms. This potentially leads to reproductive health issues, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, an increased risk of congenital disabilities, and testicular cancer, among others. PFAS bioaccumulates, indicating that exposure before birth is also a cause for concern, as our bodies collect more of them over time.

lake-in-woodbury-mn

A Wide Angle Landscape Shot of Clouds Reflecting in Colby Lake as Summer begins to change into Fall in Suburban St Paul

Why Are Wells in Woodbury, MN, Being Shut Down?

Minnesota’s PFAS program is among the most thorough in identifying monitoring strategies for solid waste, wastewater, hazardous waste landfills, and other sites. So, when Woodbury City declared a water contamination emergency, six wells were taken out of service due to high PFAS levels.

Minnesota state agencies are collaborating to manage PFAS substances found in ground and surface drinking water systems. Woodbury does not have a traditional centralized water treatment system. The state has, therefore, developed strategies to expedite the construction of a temporary water filtration plant to protect families and communities from PFAS.

This will aid in restoring water wells that have been taken offline due to contamination from PFAS chemical materials dumped decades ago by 3M. The cutting-edge technology funded by the 3M settlement will be installed in the East Metro as part of ongoing efforts to address water contamination in the surrounding areas. Minnesota is the first U.S. state government to use the technology to remove and destroy high volumes of PFAS in polluted water.

The plant is only a temporary solution for water treatment until more long-lasting options are identified. Meanwhile, Woodbury and other cities in the East Metro are working in partnership with 3M and various state agencies on long-term home treatment of water.

How to Get Rid of PFAS in Drinking Water

Because of their resistance to environmental degradation or destruction in wastewater treatment plants and landfills, PFAS can only be treated using emerging technologies. While no federal PFAS regulations exist, most states have developed their drinking water protocols. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), for example, protects drinking water by testing community water systems (CWSs) for PFAS contaminants regularly.

This statewide monitoring project aims to determine whether PFAS levels in Minnesota’s drinking water exceed guidance values. Due to their widespread use in consumer products and contamination of soil, air, and water, several states including Minnesota, have passed policies restricting the use of PFAS packaging.

The Minnesota Department of Health has also created a dashboard for Testing PFAS in Drinking Water. Communities can access the MDH’s PFAS testing data and information on community water systems status. The interactive dashboard shows whether PFAS levels are above or below stipulated health-based guidance values. Finally, water softeners or iron filtration systems containing activated carbon may help remove PFAS from water supplies.

Whole-house water treatment systems are becoming increasingly popular as homeowners are conscious of the possible health risks posed by contaminants found in tap water. These point-of-use filtration units treat all of the water in your home to mitigate PFAS pollution. Want to see the level of PFAS in your city? Check out the PFAS Contamination in the U.S. Map with data from as recent as June 8, 2022. Contact us today to get a FREE Quote on a Kinetico Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filter system that can be customized to meet your home’s specific needs.

Pat Alexander
Pat Alexander
1718405710
The most thorough AC check up I have EVER had in the 18 years I have owned my house. And I get AC and furnace check up done EVERY year.
Ileana Essig
Ileana Essig
1718398249
Ethan was friendly and very informative. When he arrived, I made it clear that I was not interested in additional services, just the tuneup/inspection of my HVAC system. He went over the results and answered my questions with thorough explanations without trying to upsell me via a list of ’recommendations’, which I sincerely appreciated.
Richard Pierson
Richard Pierson
1718388233
Michael Brandt
Michael Brandt
1718382329
Nick and Marcus were knowledgeable, efficient, and friendly. Great service call.
Nathan McCauley
Nathan McCauley
1718325023
Ethan did a great job servicing our A/C unit and went above and beyond the call of duty by removing the mice that had taken up residence in the unit.Thank you.
LA Paul
LA Paul
1718317846
Nicholas and Marcus went over everything in detail and explained what should be prioritized. Even tolerated the cat that wanted to supervise their work. Great employees for Aquarius, always responsive and professional. Ended up scheduling another appointment for some electrical repair. Great company to work with.
John Stiehl
John Stiehl
1718316855
Anson MacFarlane
Anson MacFarlane
1718314204
Great service!
Joel DeMarais
Joel DeMarais
1718222835
Completely satisfied with the work Chris, Nick and Matt did installing a new Furnace and A/C system. They were very thorough, courteous and professional!
Ted ALLISON
Ted ALLISON
1718216675
Raymond Cruz
Raymond Cruz
1718192723
RayVery satisfied and impressed!Thanks to Travis, David, Adam & EricFriendly, professional and knowledgeableThey arrived explained what was going to happen and kept me updated on the process.Answered my many questions.As they finished cleaning everything up. They again insured that I had no other questions before leaving.GREAT JOB!!
Patty George
Patty George
1718150859
Brandon was great! He gave great advice, had attention to details, was helpful and trustworthy. I love that I can be in a service program with Aquarius to help me remember the updates and cleanings during the year, especially when I have too many things to remember to do. ☺️
Bryce Chu
Bryce Chu
1718148665
Nick and his partner were incredibly thorough in their inspection of my AC and furnace unit. They clearly pointed out areas of concern as well as what working properly both inside and outside. They presented clear options for repair or intervention. I felt was given all the information I needed and had all my questions answered in simple direct language that most laymen unfamiliar with jargon could understand. Highly recommend.
Dale and Carol Tilden
Dale and Carol Tilden
1718131763
Aquarius takes excellent care of my water softening and heating as well as my furnace and air conditioning systems. Also just had a new electric panel installed (needed updating).
Debra Klejeski
Debra Klejeski
1718055650
Jon answered our questions and explained everything on the checklist. He was very professional and courteous!
Jeff Peterson
Jeff Peterson
1718055086
Wally Lee
Wally Lee
1718044949
Brandon did a great job for us with our A/C general maintenance check. Very knowledgeable, and was professional and efficient.
Joe Capistrant
Joe Capistrant
1718042522
Nate is wonderful. Knows his stuff. Resolved a troublesome problem. Very pleasant, enjoyable fellow.
Cindy Rae Dainsberg
Cindy Rae Dainsberg
1718034743
Brandon was exceptional. Professional. Knowledgeable. Efficient. Kind. Caring. Remembers the client from previous visits. An excellent example of what Customer Service should be to keep customers coming back.
Gary Smith
Gary Smith
1718030176
Excellent technician. Nick is an outstanding young man and very knowledgeable. I felt like he was giving me an honest assessment of my system.
mary bond
mary bond
1717801266
Our water heater went out on Fri evening. We called Aquarius early Sat morning and they said earliest they could get out was Mon. On Sun I received a text confirming our Mon appointment but on Mon morning they called and said the earliest they could get to us was the following week !We should be without hot water till then ? We are not a new customer…. 5 months previously we had a new furnace and air conditioner installed at quite an expense. I am appalled at their service or rather lack there of ! As an established customer they felt waiting approximately 10days without water was acceptable Bad, Bad, Bad !Two weeks later…The air conditioner Aquarius installed in Dec failed to cool when we turned it on on our 1st warm days. After the poor experience I had had with them I didn’t want to deal with them again but since it was under warranty I had to. We were told we would have a technician out Wed morning. After waiting at home all day they called and canceled at 4pm. We were rescheduled for Fri morning. We had several calls during the day with updates At 5:22 pm we received a cal the tech would be here at 6pm. We cancelled our dinner reservation and are awaiting his arrival.I realize our air conditioning is not an emergency but we have spent 2days waiting for our scheduled service. This is in addition to the 10days they wanted us to wait for a new water heater(which I do think is an emergency) I feel bad for the tech who I’m sure has had a long day and must now come at 6 on a Fri evening. Once again I repeat Aquarius has failed us again !!
Todd Schull
Todd Schull
1717795955
Riley was the tech that performed our membership maintenance check-up. He did an outstanding job explaining what was included in the maintenance check-up. After his inspection, he was very detailed, using pictures, to help describe what he found and he made recommendations on what should be addressed now and what could wait until our next membership maintenance check-up. He was very thorough doing the repairs, cleaning impeccably both our furnace and air conditioner. We are going to request Riley for all our member maintenance check-ups going forward.
Gary Winkel
Gary Winkel
1717786300
John Keller
John Keller
1717778469
Gordy replaced my lawn faucet once it was clear that it could not be repaired. He explained the problem and the process to fix it in a clear and professional manner. The cost were what I expected for such a job.
Robert McDivitt
Robert McDivitt
1717771730
Great service from Ethan. Very helpful and professional.
Frank Potocnik
Frank Potocnik
1717721504
Service Tech Nick was great. Thank you
Anthony Mielzarek
Anthony Mielzarek
1717713912
Riley is always a professional when coming to the house for HVAC services. He is always a pleasure to deal with! Even my dogs like him!
Nancy Anderson
Nancy Anderson
1717632583
Our thermostat was not working properly. Called Aquarius & they contacted , Nick Sarinske. He arrived soon after & was able to figure out what the problem was. He explained the problem & the solution very thoroughly. Great service🙂
david e brown
david e brown
1717628659
Friendly. Fast. Great staff
Sue Austin
Sue Austin
1717607256
Chris Becker
Chris Becker
1717547200
Nick stayed until my AC problem was fixed and verified it worked, even stuck around as we were hit by a rainstorm. Very impressed. Thank you, Nick, for going the extra mile to check (and replace!) that capacitor, educate me a bit on the AC unit itself, and making sure it worked before leaving!
Lloyd Lindenfelser
Lloyd Lindenfelser
1717540351
Very knowledgeable and helpful!Received prompt estimate for repairs. Thanks, Paul
kay Linsmeier
kay Linsmeier
1717527233
Tried to take advantage of me, because I am old. Tried charging me $2100 to replace a part on unit that costs $800, per other estimates, very disappointing.
Jim Muehlbauer
Jim Muehlbauer
1717523996
Guys were on time, and did an excellent job. They explained everything to our satisfaction, Great job!
Will Determan
Will Determan
1717518929
Nick was over the top wonderful to work with, highly efficient troubleshooter, and a proper gentleman! Highly recommend!!
T.R Hinrichs
T.R Hinrichs
1717453461
Great friendly service!
barry spotts
barry spotts
1717448139
Very knowlegable
Greg Benson
Greg Benson
1717440410
Serviced our soft water system, very professional
Gary Fritz
Gary Fritz
1717427584
Brent was on time, friendly, courteous, and efficient in his work. And left no trace. Very clear as well when discussing services rendered and needs I should keep in mind.
Julie A. Stoner
Julie A. Stoner
1717261784
This was the first time we used Aquarius Service. We were really impressed! 👍 Our Technician's name was Casey Ogilvie. He was very Professional.😊 Always explained everything he was doing & was able to resolve the problem, right away & was very well informed about the task @ hand. No complaints! Seems like a really nice guy.🙂Thanks, again, Casey, for a job well done! ✅ May/2024.
Doug Hicks
Doug Hicks
1717256807
Very professional.
Hager Studios
Hager Studios
1717163166
Friendly, knowledgeable techs, good install on my furnace and heat pump. Overall a very positive experience.
Clive North
Clive North
1717158882
Aquarius installed our ERV and it's been truly mind boggling how much better our air quality in our aggressively sealed house became immediately. Timely, thoughtful, and happy to keep everyone in our household safe. Would recommend!
Paul Ciernia
Paul Ciernia
1717125673
It's not much fun when your furnace goes out on New Years Eve with a forecasted minus 18 degree night approaching. Aquarius responded quickly, determined the furnace was not repairable, came the next morning (Saturday - New Years Day) to arrange a replacement which took place on Monday. They provided us with 4 space heaters which kept us above 60 degrees for the weekend. The installation of the new furnace was quick, professional and very neat. One could say they left us feeling very warm. All the Aquarius professionals we dealt with, Service, Sales and Installation, clearly took pride in the quality of their work. And, they offered a very generous Veteran's discount. Definitely 5 Stars.
Jim Roskens
Jim Roskens
1717103899
Brendon did a thorough job.
Kenneth Janda
Kenneth Janda
1717102014
Matt from Aquarius showed me photos of the furnace blower fan before and after he cleaned it. A dramatic diference. Moreover, he detected low (20%) humidity (not good for January) and showed us how to set the smat thermostat to increase it to 35% and lower the heating temperature. Excellent service and advice.Brandon was pleasant and efficient. Replaced a part under warranty. Great job.
Mark Potter
Mark Potter
1717097910
Alec was very thorough-great job tuning up our A/C for the season
Kristina Sande
Kristina Sande
1717086091
Great service, as usual! Knowledgeable and efficient, and made sure to go through all of the details of the work that was completed.
Jeff Ericksen
Jeff Ericksen
1717006658
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