In July, 2022, the Flemish Government and 3M announced an agreement to benefit the people of Flanders and carry out certain remedial actions. To learn more, click here.
Ongoing Investigation and Remediation Activity
3M is carrying out the ongoing descriptive soil investigation under the supervision of OVAM and will carry out remediation measures, which will be determined in cooperation with the authorities.
Below you will find currently available Descriptive Soil Investigations evaluated by OVAM, Remedial Action Plans declared into conformity and approved intermediate reports related to the ongoing investigation and remediation activity in Zwijndrecht.
For easier access, you will also find below non-technical or executive summaries from those documents that contain such summaries.
On 29 July 2022, the recognised soil remediation expert Environmental Resources Management (ERM) was commissioned by 3M Belgium (3M) to submit a first phased soil remediation project off site to the Public Waste Agency of Flanders (OVAM).
This proposed remedial action plan in the municipality of Zwijndrecht, as submitted on 29 July 2022, has been declared complete and admissible by OVAM. This concerns an action plan for the so-called zone 1A. This is the area between the E34 in the north, the Polderstraat in the east and the south and the Molenstraat in the west.
All owners and residents of plots within this zone have been informed about this and invited by OVAM to make any comments and objections about this remediation plan. In the meantime, OVAM is also seeking advice from all the authorities and municipalities involved during this public consultation period.
3M expects to receive the final decision on the soil remediation project for this zone at the end of October 2022. In the meantime, work is continuing on a more detailed planning so that work can begin as soon as possible.
ERM has been commissioned by 3M to carry out an update to the initial descriptive soil investigation (DSI) from 2006 (prepared by Arcadis with reference 11/003094) of the 3M factory in Zwijndrecht (near Antwerp).
Given the complexity of the DSI, it was decided in consultation with OVAM that this update would be carried out in different phases. For each identified DSI phase, a stand-alone DSI report would be developed and submitted to OVAM.
This first part includes the initial assessment of the human risk assessment for PFAS in the soil concerning the area south of the E34 motorway & 3M Zwijndrecht plant.
On behalf of 3M, ERM is providing environmental supervision of the remediation works on the 3M site located at Canadastraat 11 in Zwijndrecht.
Below you will find interim reports of the remediation works approved by OVAM, as described in the "First phased soil remediation project 3M Belgium NV, port 1005 – Canadastraat 11, 2070 Zwijndrecht", drawn up by Arcadis on 29 October 2008, as approved by OVAM.
At the 3M site in Zwijndrecht there are two sources of historical groundwater contamination for which soil remediation is necessary: groundwater containing organofluoro-compounds (mainly PFOS and PFOA) and groundwater contamination with volatile aromatics. In addition, there is a historical soil contamination with slightly increased organofluoro and mercury concentrations, for which soil remediation is necessary.
The general objective of the remediation is to control and remove organofluoro-compounds in the source zones and to reduce their spread outside the site boundaries. Due to the reduced spread beyond the site boundaries, less pollution will end up in the River Scheldt on a daily basis. However, it should be noted that even in the current state there is no ecotoxological risk for the River Scheldt.
On 1 July and 3 August 2022, 3M Belgium submitted a memorandum to OVAM outlining a strategy to control the inflow of PFAS from the 'southern part of the 3M site' in Zwijndrecht to the Palingbeek, more specifically by means of an interception trench.
On behalf of 3M Belgium, ARCADIS Gedas NV carried out a descriptive soil survey during the period April-October 2007 on the site of 3M Belgium, located at Canadastraat 11 (Haven 1005) in 2070 Zwijndrecht.
This is the second descriptive soil investigation for this location, carried out in response to the contaminants identified in the periodic exploratory soil investigation dated March 1, 2007.
Based on this descriptive soil investigation, there is no additional remediation obligation for certain parameters. However, the presence of ammonium, amine compounds, iso-octyl acrylate, formaldehyde, phenols and cresols as well as a locally abnormal pH and conductivity must be taken into account if groundwater is treated in the context of soil remediation.
The first exploratory soil investigation, carried out by Lisec at the 3M site in Zwijndrecht, was delivered to OVAM in 1996. On the basis of this research, Lisec drew up a proposal for descriptive soil investigation in 2000 and started carrying out the descriptive soil investigation.
At the start of the descriptive soil investigation, a Risk Assessment Team was put together. In 2006, the Risk Assessment Team consisted of Prof. Dr. Colin Janssen, VITO, Lisec (until 2004), Aeolus, EPAS, 3M and ARCADIS (starting 2004).
Various organofluor-compounds were produced at the 3M site in 2006. During the descriptive soil investigation, the focus was initially on this group of compounds. The Risk Assessment Team's task was to derive risk limit values for the organofluor-compounds. The eco(toxico-)logical risk assessment was also part of the tasks.
According to the descriptive soil study from 2006, a soil remediation project must be drawn up for groundwater contamination with organofluor-compounds and volatile aromatics.
There are no precautions required.
3M Health Science Research
3M has supported or sponsored more than 150 studies on PFAS and health science topics. A comprehensive list of these studies is available here. (Last updated: September, 2022). We will periodically update this list to help support further work on this topic.
Public Health and Environmental Organization Pages
Additional resources to access research related to health science and PFAS from global bodies include:
United States of America