3M is investing $165 million to improve water quality and reduce water use at its manufacturing facility in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. The investment follows an August 2021 announcement of a companywide collaborative effort to partner with Clean Harbors for waste management, which eliminated the need for 3M’s incinerator to process waste in Cottage Grove. The company has since fully transitioned its waste management at the site, and as a result of discontinuing incinerator operations, reduced its on-site energy use by 25 percent.
The technology investment in Cottage Grove is another step forward in the company’s $1 billion, 20-year commitment to ambitious environmental goals, which include improved water quality, reduced water use and reduced plastic use – as well as achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
The company’s actions will reduce overall water use at the Cottage Grove site and also return higher quality water to the environment after it is used in operations. Later in 2022, newly-installed technology featuring a combination of granular activated carbon, ion exchange, reverse osmosis and other methods will go online. That system will remove organic and inorganic materials from water, including an anticipated 95 percent of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in water from 3M operations.
By 2024, 3M plans to install state-of-the-art water treatment processes at locations across the company. These efforts will drive a more than 95 percent reduction in 3M’s PFAS discharges globally by 2025, with a goal of more than 99 percent by 2030.