Closed Landfills/PFAS: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Announces Sampling Results

Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C.

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The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (“MPCA”) addressed in a March 18th news release per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) groundwater sampling results at a number of closed landfills.

Groundwater is stated to have been sampled at 59 closed landfills in 41 Minnesota counties.

PFAS consist of a large group of man-made chemicals. Their properties include resistance to heat, water, and oil. Further, they have been described as persistent in the environment and resist degradation.

The compounds have been used in various applications in consumer products.

Potential human exposure to PFAS includes pathways through drinking water, air or food.

Several states have addressed PFAS in their Clean Water Act National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permitting or related activities. The effect on both public owned treatment works and industrial dischargers has been discussed. This interest has included impact on biosolids management.

The potential presence of PFAS on or about active or closed landfills, because of their acceptance of materials that may contain PFAS, is being assessed in some instances. For example, California State Water Resources Control Board issued a March 20th Order that directed a list of California landfill facilities to submit information regarding PFAS. (See previous post here.)

The MPCA states in its March 18th news release that groundwater at the 59 closed landfills exceeded the Minnesota Department of Health’s health-based guidance values for PFAS. It further states that:

. . . Overall, the MPCA has found PFAS contamination in groundwater at 98 of the 101 tested sites in the closed landfill program.

MPCA states that the Minnesota Department of Health has developed health-based guidance values that it believes represent levels for various PFAS in drinking waters that is considered safe for people, including sensitive populations, over their entire lifetime.

MPCA states that due to these results it is expanding water monitoring. It further states that:

. . . Ongoing sampling of groundwater around these sites will help determine the impact of PFAS contamination while informing the need for additional remedial actions.

A copy of the news release can be downloaded here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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