3M (NYSE: MMM) today announced an additional investment of 150 million Euro to proactively advance remedial actions for the Zwijndrecht community to address legacy manufacturing and disposal of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). This is in addition to investments and actions the company has taken to further reduce PFAS discharges and emissions, continue running non-PFAS related manufacturing, and re-start previously idled PFAS-related manufacturing processes.
“We want to establish a constructive, collaborative relationship with Flemish authorities to address the concerns of all stakeholders. Today represents another important step forward in delivering on a broader set of commitments to our neighbors in Flanders,” said 3M chairman and chief executive officer, Mike Roman.
“These investments help enhance our environmental stewardship, and achieve longer-term stability for 3M’s operations in Belgium. We continue to advance and operate non-PFAS related manufacturing there, while working to get more PFAS-enabled manufacturing processes up and running in compliance with local safety measures,” Roman added. “In addition to leveraging our global manufacturing footprint to deliver for our customers, we have also put in place new controls in Zwijndrecht, including technology to control air emissions, and capture, dispose, and treat PFAS in water. These investments, along with appropriate collaboration with the relevant authorities, help us bring idled processes back online enabling European production of essential products for our customers around the world.”
Addressing historical activity: 3M has committed to address legacy PFAS the company had previously produced at its Zwijndrecht facility. An accredited third-party soil remediation expert has recently completed significant work on a descriptive soil investigation that helps inform 3M’s remedial actions onsite and in the surrounding area.
Costs associated with initial remedial actions are currently estimated at 150 million Euro. 3M has accelerated certain remedial timelines and actions, which will be completed with oversight from the relevant authorities. 3M expects to record a charge in the first quarter of 2022 associated with the estimate of this phase of remediation and to reflect it as an adjustment in arriving at results, adjusted for special items.
Progressing on commitments: Consistent with its work at other manufacturing facilities, 3M is further reducing PFAS discharges from its operations. 3M has engineered and activated a wastewater treatment system that has helped significantly reduce PFAS discharges from its site in Zwijndrecht, while continuing to work with relevant authorities to resolve the wastewater discharge permit modification issues that impact the facility’s operations, as previously disclosed in 3M’s 2021 10-K. 3M is also making process changes and implementing additional controls that reduce air emissions.
Supporting the citizens of Zwijndrecht: 3M is also committed to supporting our neighbors and community. To help support farmers who have been financially impacted, 3M worked collaboratively with the Flemish authorities and local farmers’ association to establish a goodwill compensation process. This process is underway, and in the coming weeks, several dozen agricultural businesses will begin to receive payments.
These plans further demonstrate 3M’s commitment to corporate responsibility and global environmental stewardship. 3M has made significant progress in similar work at other locations globally, including at sites in the United States and Germany.