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State sues 3M over PFCs in Washington County

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson on Thursday sued 3M Company over past chemical contamination of ground water in the eastern Twin Cities. Swanson's office wants the company to pay for environmental damage caused by decades of pollution in the Washington County area.

"3M polluted and damaged our waters with these chemicals," Swanson said in a statement. "The lawsuit asks the company to make right the problems caused by its contamination of our waters."

The attorney general said 3M disposed of perfluorochemical, or PFC, waste and wastewater for over 50 years and it contaminated Minnesota ground water and surface water.

PFCs were used to make Scotchguard and other chemicals.

3M in 2009 initiated a cleanup of a chemical-contaminated former waste site near the border of the cities of Woodbury and Cottage Grove. The company in the 1960s used the former municipal and industrial dump site to dispose waste from the Cottage Grove Chemolite plant.

Swanson's announcement said that the state and 3M in May agreed to try to negotiate an out-of-court resolution to the state's claims, but the agreement expired Thursday, Dec. 30.

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Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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