This page is optimized for a taller screen. Please rotate your device or increase the size of your browser window.

Development of a Conceptual Drinking Water Supply Plan for Minnesota’s East Metro Area Affected by PFAS Contamination in Groundwater


  • Abt helped Minnesota assess environmental injuries from PFAS contamination of groundwater
  • We also helped Minnesota run a public planning process to deliver safe drinking water to affected areas.
  • Finally, we contributed to the development and writing of the final plan, which was released in August 2021.
The Challenge

In 2018, the State of Minnesota reached a settlement with the 3M Company regarding contamination of groundwater with PFAS chemicals manufactured by 3M. Under the settlement, the 3M Company provided $850 million to the state, the bulk of which will be used by the state to provide clean, sustainable drinking water to communities affected by PFAS contamination. Abt Global assisted Minnesota in assessing natural resource injuries associated with the contamination, helping the state reach the Settlement with 3M. We then helped the state establish and facilitate a public planning process to develop a plan for allocating settlement funds for drinking water treatment and other projects.

The Approach

Since 2018, Abt has been working with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources to execute the settlement. The agencies are working with affected communities and citizens to develop a plan for investing settlement funds in water treatment, water systems, groundwater remediation and other actions that will ensure clean, sustainable water for the area over the next several decades. Abt’s work includes:

  • Convening and facilitating public advisory work groups;
  • Developing goals and evaluation criteria, cost, and economic analyses, as well as and public and internal agency surveys and communications; and
  • Overall decision-support for agency leadership to formulate their recommendations.
The Results

We helped Minnesota develop a community-supported Conceptual Drinking Water Supply Plan, which will serve as the blueprint for using roughly $700 million of the 3M Settlement to deliver safe and sustainable water supply to affected communities and citizens.  The draft Planwas released in September 2020 and included recommendations for over $500 million in investments for drinking water infrastructure and over $100 million for drinking water protection, remediation, and sustainability initiatives. We helped the agencies gather feedback on the draft plan, including conducting several workshops, two virtual public meetings, and a public survey. We summarized the feedback received and assisted the agencies in updating the plan, including addressing cost and financial trade-offs. The Abt team led the writing of the crucial chapters of the final plan that document and justify the final decisions, fund allocations, and project eligibility under the plan. We also developed communications materials, including a “Resident’s Guide to the Final Plan.”

The final Conceptual Drinking Water Supply Plan was released on August 18, 2021.