Chemical detected in New Brighton's drinking water 'poses risks'

The Minnesota Department of Health found elevated levels of a chemical called 1, 4-Dioxane in New Brighton's drinking water system -- the issue does not present immediate health risks, but the levels exceed the state's health risk limit for long-term exposure.

"No human cases of cancer have been linked to 1, 4-Dioxane," the MDH said. "Risk assessments based on animal testing indicate this chemical may pose a cancer risk to humans. The risk of developing cancer from exposure to 1, 4-Dioxane at the levels found in New Brighton's drinking water is very low, but it cannot be dismissed."

Plans for lowering the levels of the chemical in the drinking water are being made by the city. New Brighton will be using wells for public water that have no detections of 1, 4-Dioxane in order to eliminate exposure to residents, and will not provide water for Fridley.

Other activities such as washing dishes, bathing, showering, or watering the lawn do not pose increased risk.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency indicated that the the detection is likely associated with the deep groundwater plume at the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant.

City and state officials are "actively exploring longer-term solutions for addressing the 1, 4-Dioxane issue in the public water supply and will be following-up with further information for city residents and businesses in the days ahead."

Full statement from Ramsey County Deputy Manager

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has indicated that the 1,4-dioxane detected in the City of New Brighton's water supply is likely associated with the deep groundwater plume at the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant. The presumed source of the contamination is not on the 427-acre Rice Creek Commons site, but is located within the eastern section of TCAAP that now houses the Arden Hills Army Training Site.

Public health and safety are of the utmost importance to Ramsey County, and we stand with the City of New Brighton and nearby local governments as they implement both immediate and permanent solutions to protect public health and the environment.

Ramsey County is working closely with the MPCA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to test for 1,4-dioxane in the soil at Rice Creek Commons. We do not expect to find the compound in the soil in amounts exceeding the MPCA's threshold because the compound does not readily persist in soil. We would expect the current remediation underway at the site to address any 1,4-dioxane that might be present in the soil.

However, if 1,4-dioxane is found in the soil on the county's property, we will work with state and federal environmental regulators to ensure that it is properly remediated to residential standards. The county's purchase agreement with the federal government and its fixed-price remediation contract protect the county from financial exposure for environmental response costs associated with the Rice Creek Commons project.