Mar 8, 2021 | By: Lakeland News

Updated: Bemidji Reaches Settlement With 3M Regarding Chemicals in Water Supply

Update: We spoke with Nate Mathews, Bemidji City Manager, to hear his thoughts on the settlement. Original story follows:

The city of Bemidji and 3M have reached a settlement regarding the presence of PFAS chemicals in the city’s drinking water.

According to a joint statement released Monday night, the settlement means 3M will contribute $12.5 million to support the construction and operation of a new water treatment facility in Bemidji. The city council approved an agreement to resolve its claims against 3M.

The city and 3M worked cooperatively over a period of months to reach this agreement without resorting to lengthy and expensive litigation, according to the statement. The city began construction on a new treatment facility last fall that will enable the city to keep PFAS chemical levels within Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Health guidance.

Last fall, the state legislature passed a bonding bill that helped cover a portion of the construction costs of the facility. The city believes this agreement provides a durable funding mechanism for completion and operation of the the treatment system without passing on additional costs to residents.

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