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Barr’s top 5 takeaways on the MPCA’s new PFAS blueprint

Today, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced a new statewide blueprint to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). MPCA Commissioner Laura Bishop, together with state legislators, agency leaders and community advocates, shared a strategy to “prevent, manage and clean up PFAS contamination.” They emphasized 10 priority areas focused on “additional research, new health guidance, drinking water and food protections, as well as additional tools for cleanup and prevention.”

A nationwide leader in addressing PFAS issues in air, water, soil and biosolids, Barr gathered several important insights from today’s announcement, including the following five key takeaways:

  1. Minnesota has reached a statewide inflection point. As science and data have confirmed the presence and persistence of PFAS in the environment, many Minnesota communities have made addressing PFAS a top priority.
  2. Sources are in focus. While the MPCA’s PFAS blueprint outlines numerous priorities, it’s clear that the agency intends to dedicate significant resources to sampling and addressing sources of PFAS contamination across the state. Industries that will be evaluated include energy, mining, pulp and paper, chemicals, biotechnology, and numerous manufacturing industry subsets. In contrast to some other states, Minnesota indicates a direct focus on air sources of PFAS.
  3. The issue won’t go away. The PFAS blueprint outlines both near-term and longer-term actions and priorities. Addressing PFAS will likely be a decades-long effort, and for this reason, it’s a good time for members of the regulated industries who are concerned about PFAS to start understanding their exposure and risk. An example is the plan’s short-term consideration to monitor PFAS at NPDES-permitted facilities, with a longer-term consideration of seeking to require mandatory reporting of PFAS air emissions from facilities. 
  4. PFAS is a bipartisan issue. Elected officials from both parties described broad public concern about PFAS in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Bemidji, and other communities across the state. They are answering to constituents who are concerned about the health risks and impacts of PFAS on their families. An example is the recent introduction of legislation to define PFAS as a hazardous substance under Minnesota Environmental Response and Liability Act.
  5. Federal action on PFAS is likely. As interest in PFAS increases in Minnesota and across the U.S., it’s likely that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will begin to take on a more forceful leadership role—and new regulations may follow.

Barr has developed and implemented numerous highly effective PFAS detection, monitoring, and remediation or treatment solutions for private clients and municipalities; for an overview of some of our recent projects, visit our PFAS Innovation + Insights page

We will continue to monitor developments in PFAS in Minnesota and across North America. If you’re seeking to learn more on this topic, contact Ward Swanson or Tim Russell.

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