News release: Program to protect state's drinking water sources will hold first Advisory Forum meeting Jan. 20

News Release
January 18, 2011
Contact information

Program to protect state's drinking water sources will hold first Advisory Forum meeting Jan. 20

MDH seeks to identify and develop guidance for contaminants of emerging concern

Minnesotans concerned about protecting the state's water resources from contaminants will have an opportunity to hear about the work of the state's Drinking Water Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC) program this week. The first meeting of the CEC Advisory Forum will be held Thursday, Jan. 20, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Minnesota Department of Health's Snelling Office Park facility. The meeting is open to the public and the proceedings will be posted on the Advisory Forum Web page at

Forum participants are likely to include representatives from local, state, and federal government agencies, academic programs, nonprofit groups, industry groups and drinking water and wastewater professional organizations. If you would like to attend and/or become a member of the Advisory Forum, please contact Michele Ross at or 651-201-4927.

The Advisory Forum is expected to meet one or two times per year for the purposes of:

  • Obtaining nominations for contaminants of concern.
  • Reviewing work completed by task groups.
  • Discussing monitoring and research on contaminants of emerging concern being conducted in Minnesota.

The CEC program was made possible by a constitutional amendment passed by Minnesota voters in 2008. The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment dedicates certain portions of state sales and use taxes to outdoor heritage, clean water, parks and trails and arts and cultural heritage. Under the amendment, clean water funds must be used to protect, enhance and restore water quality in lakes, rivers and streams and to protect groundwater from degradation and to protect drinking water sources.

Under CEC, MDH is able to take a more proactive approach to the protection of drinking water. The CEC program identifies contaminants in the environment for which current health-based standards do not exist or need to be updated to reflect new toxicity information. Through the CEC program, MDH investigates the potential for human exposure to these contaminants, and develops guidance values. Contaminants evaluated by CEC staff may include industrial chemicals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and personal care products, and other contaminants that have been released or detected in Minnesota waters (surface water and groundwater) or that have the potential to migrate to or be detected in Minnesota waters.

Since February 2009, MDH has been working with a number of state agencies and partners in laying the groundwork for the CEC program. A task group was formed and met four times in 2010 to review the proposed chemical screening process and discuss the development of the chemical prioritization process. Additionally, another task group was formed and met one time in 2010 to develop and expand on the education, outreach, and engagement plan for the program. These task groups will continue to meet in 2011. However, Thursday's meeting will be the first for the broader Advisory Forum. Additional task groups may be formed from the members of the Advisory Forum.

More information on the Advisory Forum or the CEC program can be found on the MDH website at


For more information, contact:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications

Michele Ross
Health Risk Assessment