Prior Lake Residents Create Startup Lab Offering New Water Testing Service | Anterior lake

Avant Lake residents Andrew and Nikki Christianson are on a mission to raise awareness of groundbreaking tests that measure the total number of chemicals and pollutants found in Minnesota’s waterways.

The couple, who are married, recently formed a start-up lab – Novem Scientific located in Woodbury – which routinely tests for total PFAS in water samples. The lab works with all customers who wish to perform testing, including wastewater treatment facilities, landfills and residents.

Andrew, CEO of Novem Scientific, said the company was founded on the idea that a lab should deliver more than just numbers to its customers. He said they help their customers browse their results.

“There is strong pressure for regulations to help remove these harmful molecules from our drinking water, lakes and rivers,” Andrew said. “That’s why Novem was founded to get into consulting and testing services.”

According to the Christiansons, their laboratory is one of the few in the world capable of testing all PFAS.

“Forever Chemicals” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are commonly described as persistent organic pollutants, also known as “eternal chemicals”. Residues have been detected in humans and wildlife, raising concerns. Due to their water- and oil-repellent nature, PFAS have been widely used in items such as food packaging, clothing, and fire-fighting foam.

The Christiansons say agencies such as the Federal Environmental Protection Agency only test certain PFAS compounds. Nikki Christianson, chief marketing officer of Novem Scientific, said the EPA and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency were only testing 40 PFAS compounds when there were actually between 4,000 and 7,000.

“There is still so much research to be done in this emerging area of ​​monitoring and testing,” she said. “Taxpayers’ money is spent testing only a limited amount of PFAS. They should incorporate a total PFAS test to get an idea of ​​the actual amount in a sample in addition to their specific compounds.

She added: “People care where and how the government is spending their money. The public doesn’t know that all that money for testing may only be solving a tiny part of the real problem.

According to previous reports, in recent years the MPCA has developed several new strategies to prevent, manage and clean up PFAS pollution.

In Burnsville, groundwater samples at the Freeway landfill found PFAS contamination at levels 714 times higher than state health values, according to an MPCA study released last year. PFAS contamination was found in 97% of the closed landfills tested during the study.

The MPCA will also monitor PFAS at active, licensed solid waste landfills and sites in the state, including the Dem-Con landfill in Shakopee and the Carver County Composting Facility at the Arboretum, according to the report. .

Part of the solution Nikki Christianson added that undetected PFAS affect everyone if not closely monitored. She said the huge disparity in testing between Novem and government agencies needs to be known to the public.

“All the landfills here and the companies – they will only have to monitor less than one percent of the total PFAS compounds in their wastewater and leachate,” she said. “That’s a lot of PFAS that could seep into our groundwater, streams, etc., that aren’t accounted for. It affects us all.

Andrew Christianson said their aim was to highlight the highest levels of pollutants in different types of waterways to help agencies find solutions to fix contaminated water.

“We test groundwater, surface water, wastewater daily and help get the data that will shed some light on some of these issues so we can dig deeper,” he said. “Novem is not really in the business of solving the problem, but we help these people by giving us a sample and we can tell them when he is gone.”

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