*This article was updated on Dec. 15, 2021 to include the MPCA deadline extension to Jan. 21, 2022 for comments on the plan. MPCA also added a public listening session on the remediation monitoring plan to be held on Jan. 4, 2022.
On Nov. 16, 2021, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) released a Draft PFAS Monitoring Plan. This plan signals that MPCA will continue its efforts to address historical per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination through enforcement actions to remove that contamination and redevelop those sites. The MPCA is seeking comments on the plan through Jan. 21, 2022, and plans to implement it beginning in early 2022.
The MPCA currently uses its authority under Minn. Stat. ch. 115B, the Minnesota Environmental Response and Liability Act (MERLA), to respond to PFAS contamination through remediation and redevelopment. MERLA authorizes the MPCA to take removal or remedial action when there is a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance from a facility (see Minn. Stat. § 115B.17). MERLA also authorizes MPCA to undertake other actions, including investigations, to identify the existence and extent of a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance, or a pollutant or contaminant.
Currently, the MPCA’s Site Remediation and Redevelopment Section requires PFAS sampling at sites on a case-by-case basis. The decision to require PFAS sampling at a site currently considers evidence of nearby or on-site PFAS contamination, current or historic land use, and other factors.
As proposed in the plan, the MPCA will continue to consider historical site use, proximity to known detections or releases —which may increase in number under the monitoring proposed under the MPCA’s plan — and the proximity to dumps or landfills in the state. Additionally, the MPCA has proposed a list of NAICS codes that are considered to be associated with potential PFAS use or release and will be used in identifying if historical or current site use is instructive in potential PFAS use or release on the site.
MPCA will be holding an informational meeting on its proposed plan for the brownfields program on Dec. 15, 2021, during a half-day meeting. More information on how to obtain an invitation to the meeting is available on the plan’s website.