Read the full article by Jared Strong (Iowa Capital Dispatch)
“A deal exceeding $800,000 has been finalized with 3M Company to abate the ‘forever chemicals’ in Camanche’s drinking water and to compensate the town for the expenses it has already incurred because of the contamination, according to the town’s city administrator.
‘It’ll cover those costs and then put money toward the initial portions of getting the two deep wells done,’ City Administrator Andrew Kida said. ‘So, we’ve got a really strong agreement.’
The eastern Iowa town is among more than a dozen in the state with drinking water that is tainted by perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances — commonly known as PFAS or ‘forever chemicals’ — that persist indefinitely in the environment and have been tied to cancers and other health ailments.
There have been no federal requirements that force water utilities to limit PFAS concentrations in treated drinking water, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expects to finalize maximum contaminant levels for six of the chemicals later this year.
Some cities, such as West Des Moines, have been able to limit or eliminate the presence of the chemicals in drinking water by idling contaminated wells. A solution can be trickier for smaller cities like Camanche, which has about 4,600 residents. Two of its three wells are relatively shallow and contaminated.
However, in Camanche’s case, the source of the contamination is likely a manufacturer of them, environmental regulators say. 3M Company has a production facility nearby in Illinois, just across the Mississippi River.
The EPA determined that the facility has contaminated the area and the river for decades with PFAS emissions it has released directly into the air or with its wastewater and sludge.
Last year, 3M agreed to mitigate the contamination of water supplies in the area, either by creating alternate sources of water or through treatment.
The company and Camanche have agreed that drilling two new deep wells is the best solution, Kida said. In the meantime, the city has made its only deep, uncontaminated well the primary source of drinking water. It was previously used as a backup source of water during periods of high demand.
Tests of the town’s treated drinking water since the switch are pending, Kida said.
‘We expect that to come back clean,’ he said.
3M has agreed to front the city $500,000 for its expenses related to the two new wells and to pay whatever costs exceed that figure, Kida said. The company will also pay:
— $300,000 for the work required to refurbish the city’s existing deep well, which needed a new pump and beefier electrical service to power it.
— $50,000 for past and future legal fees.
— About $18,000 to pay for a 2021 study commissioned by the city that examined its water supply options.”