Skip to main content
Publish date:

Lake Elmo issues red alert, shuts down well over PFCs in water supplies

Lake Elmo is one of the cities where 3M used for the disposal of PFCs.

The city of Lake Elmo has issued an alert after finding heightened levels of perfluorochemicals (PFCs) in one of its water towers and one of its wells

In an announcement Tuesday, the city said it would be taking the city's well No.1 and water tower No. 1 offline after receiving the information about PFC levels from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

In order to compensate for the loss of the tower and well, the city will increase pressure from its No. 2 and 4 towers to ensure water supplies to homes and emergency services continue as usual.

The move prompted the city to issue a CodeRED Alert, KSTP reports.

Taking the two facilities offline will also allow the city to flush its water system, officials said, noting that some residents had recently complained of having brown water in their homes.


– 3M agrees $850M settlement with state of Minnesota over PFC contamination.

MDH told Bring Me The News that testing of Well No. 1 found the level of the PFC chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was above its "Health Based Value" for the fourth consecutive quarter.

PFOA is commonly found in contaminated groundwater in the Lake Elmo area, with MDH saying the levels in water supplies were at 45 ppt (parts per trillion) and the recommended MDH Health Based Value is 35 ppt.

It told Lake Elmo of the finding and will be issuing "Notice of Health Advisory" to the city in the coming days, which follows three similar notices being issued to nearby Oakdale, Cottage Grove and Woodbury last year.

""No additional actions on the part of residents will be needed," MDH spokesman Doug Schultz said. "The city administrator told us that if a serious drought occurs this summer the city may need to employ additional restrictions on water use."

Historic concerns over 3M dumping

Concerns about PFCs in Lake Elmo are particularly significant given it was one of the cities involved in the lawsuit about 3M's historic disposal of PFCs it used in its products.

The company dumped wastewater containing PFCs at four sites in Cottage Grove, Oakdale, Woodbury and Lake Elmo over several decades.

The state's Attorney General Lori Swanson alleged the Fortune 500 company's disposal of PFCs caused it to seep into eastern metro water supplies, arguing it caused a number of health problems to residents, which 3M denied.

3M agreed a $850 million settlement with the city last month, which will be used to improve water quality and sustainability in the eastern metro.

Next Up

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton believes he's the best player in baseball

"Nobody [does] the things that I do. I know that."

unsplash medical marijuana

Edibles coming to Minnesota's medical marijuana program

MDH also announced it will not add anxiety as qualifying condition.

plow, snowplow, snow

Plowable snow possible this weekend in Minnesota

Up to half a foot of snow could fall within the heaviest band.

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

Police reveal new details about 'coordinated' Best Buy thefts

A large group stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from three Twin Cities Best Buy stores.

Seven Points exterior - 2

New tenant revealed for former Libertine spot in Uptown

The space will combine playful art offerings with a restaurant.

white Christmas

What are Minnesota's chances of a white Christmas this year?

The Twin Cities averages a white Christmas about 3 out of every 4 years.

ilhan omar press conference voicemail screengrab 11.30.21

'You will not live much longer b***': Rep. Omar shares threatening voicemail

Omar's office received the call hours after Rep. Boebert posted her video about the MN congresswoman.

Screen Shot 2021-12-01 at 11.24.09 AM

ESPN's 'Booger' makes fun of Wild fans' record cup snake

He's the same guy who thought the "Minneapolis Miracle" was bad for the Vikings.

brian ingram

Woodfired Cantina closes at Keg and Case in St. Paul

Restaurateur Brian Ingram is focusing on growing his other concepts.

giant bear

Video: 'THE fattest bear we have ever seen' spotted on MN trail camera

"This might be THE fattest bear we have ever seen in our area," researchers said.

u.s. attorney

Guilty plea from man who stockpiled guns, equipment to make bombs, drugs

Prosecutors say he had multiple guns, items to make weapons and pipe bombs, and lab equipment to make drugs.


As well shuts down in Lake Elmo, some can expect brown water

Health officials found higher-than-healthy PFC levels in water supplies.

Lake Elmo accepts $2.7M, land from 3M in pollution settlement

The city will get 180 acres of land as part of the deal.

Hey Vadnais Heights, here's how you can use less water

The city has been ordered to reduce its water use.

Pixabay - water hands stream CROP

Minneapolis residents could face water restrictions if drought continues

The city is asking people and businesses to be mindful of their water use in the meantime.

Got a water softener in your home? It could be harming MN lakes

Salt from water softeners are a major source of chloride found in Minnesota's waters.

Update: The water is all good in Blaine now

"No water in Blaine. So, beer it is."

Lake Elmo plane crash.

2 people hurt after plane crashes into Lake Elmo cornfield

It happened near the Lake Elmo Airport on Friday afternoon.