3M is a global innovator that never stops moving forward. For more than 120 years, we have worked to improve daily life for millions across the globe. We have made driving at night easier, made buildings safer, and made consumer electronics lighter, and less energy intensive. We even helped put a man on the moon.
Each day at 3M, one idea always leads to the next, igniting momentum to make progress possible around the world.
The 3M plant in Decatur is an integral part of the Decatur-Morgan County business community and the growth of the north Alabama region – one of the fastest growing economies in the U.S. The company launched its Decatur operations in 1961 with the establishment of a plant producing certain chemistries. The following year the film plant began operations on the same site.
The site production portfolio expanded again in 1997 with the establishment of a joint venture between 3M's fluoroelastomer business with German company Hoescht to form Dyneon. Decatur was the key producer of the 3M products involved in the venture. In 1998, Dyneon built its own facility on the Decatur site for production of these materials. In 1999, 3M purchased Dyneon from Hoescht
Today, the 3M footprint in Decatur covers 848 acres and includes more than 2.5 million square feet under roof.
Despite representing largely separate businesses, the Film and Materials plants on the 3M site in Decatur enjoy a vibrant synergy. Each plant has its own manufacturing organization headed by a plant manager, one of whom also serves as site manager. The site manager oversees resources of common benefit to the plants. These include Environmental, Health, Safety and Regulatory (EHS&R), as well as Human Resources, Supply Chain, Information Technology, Wastewater Treatment, and Utilities. Specific operational groups such as Engineering, Production, Maintenance, and Quality Assurance are managed separately by each plant.
The Materials Plant is composed of several key value streams – batch chemicals, fluoroelastomers and fluoroplastics. Products include a wide variety of adhesives, curatives, fluoropolymers, primers, processing additives, protective treatments, specialty chemicals and surfactants. In addition to manufacturing, the Materials Plant also has a process development center for new fluoropolymer products.
The Film Plant manufactures products that can be divided into two key value streams : specialty resins and specialty films. The specialty resins are used in the film manufacturing processes to produce the specialty films. These resins have unique optical and thermal properties. The specialty films can be used in numerous applications. Three major categories are Reflective Polarizer Applications, Polyester Applications, and Extrusion Coated Films.
Our success begins by applying our 50 core technologies – often in combination – to a long list of real-world customer needs in our manufacturing facilities. Much of the fundamental research and development for both the Film and Materials Science Division is performed in our St. Paul R&D facilities; however, more than 15 of the 50 core 3M technologies are practiced and continuously improved at the Decatur location.
The 3M site in Decatur serves the majority of 3M divisions worldwide. Our films and specialty materials are sold directly to external customers and shipped to other 3M locations around the world for further value-added processing before they are sold into various industrial, commercial, and consumer applications.
At 3M, our more than 90,000 employees do work that matters, applying our science in ways that make a positive impact on people’s lives around the globe. That work is accomplished through close collaboration with smart, curious and motivated 3Mers in 87 countries, all rallying behind 3M’s Purpose: to “unlock the power of people, ideas, and science to reimagine what’s possible.”
3M’s site in Decatur supports both the film and the materials plants. The site employs more than 950 employees, as well as more than 400 contractors on site employed through our primary mechanical, electrical, and security contractors. The site is one of the largest workforce locations in the company and is one of the largest employers in the Decatur-Morgan County business community. The high-tech manufacturing site features a diverse collection of hourly and salaried positions: production and maintenance team members, engineers, supply chain analysts, chemists, and management and administrative leaders. Not only does 3M recruit the best and brightest for our workforce, but we provide training, development, and certification programs to keep our team on the leading edge of innovation.
If you are interested in joining 3M and learning more about careers opportunities in Decatur, click here and enter in the search “Decatur” to learn what your future could hold in The River City. View career opportunities.
3M is taking action to manage legacy materials at our sites with a commitment to environmental stewardship. As a company, we recognize the questions around PFAS and our manufacturing processes. 3M continues to lead through innovative solutions to meet our goals while investing $1 billion in water reduction and improving water quality. It is a corporate commitment we are putting into action each day. Environmental stewardship at our manufacturing sites like Decatur support the company’s goal of reducing our water usage across the company by 25 percent by 2030. Through these efforts, 3M expects to reduce its overall water usage globally by 2.5 billion gallons per year.
Locally, 3M and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) announced an Interim Consent Order agreement in July 2020 to address previously disclosed PFAS discharges at the Decatur facility. As scientific knowledge of PFAS has advanced, so has 3M’s approach to managing and disposing of these substances. We are committed to working collaboratively with our community to address our activities and promote environmental stewardship for the future. For more information about the Interim Consent Order and read the most recent status report, please click here. View ADEM Report.
In July 2020, 3M and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) announced an agreement to address previously disclosed per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) discharges at the Decatur facility. As scientific knowledge of PFAS has advanced, so has 3M’s approach to managing and disposing of these substances. We are committed to working collaboratively with our community to address our activities and promote environmental stewardship for the future.
3M has implemented changes that are state-of-the-art practices for PFAS management of our site with ADEM’s engagement. Recent updates at the Decatur site include:
3M reports on our progress to ADEM through semi-annual progress updates. Read the most current update to ADEM here.
3M has several on and offsite investigations in progress, including:
Looking to the future, 3M has projects and studies on the horizon, including:
3M remains committed to continuing our work in environmental stewardship with ADEM, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the community. 3M is also taking action to identify, investigate and perform appropriate remediation of legacy contamination of soil and groundwater at sites where PFAS from the facility may have been disposed. To date, 3M has invested more than $100 million to address PFAS at the Decatur facility, including a significant cap and containment project to manage PFAS-impacted soil and groundwater, and the installation of a granular activated carbon system to remove PFAS from ground water.
Decatur, Ala., is an outdoors and arts-based community with award-winning schools, a growing high-tech and manufacturing economy, a welcoming personality, and a high quality of life with a low cost of living. Located on the banks of the Tennessee River in north-central Alabama, Decatur was founded in 1823 by order of the U.S. Congress and Pres. James Monroe in honor of the renowned U.S. Naval Officer Commodore Stephen Decatur. Today, more than 58,000 residents call The River City home. Visit the City of Decatur website for more information.
Today, Decatur remains a commercial hub with several of the nation's industrial giants operating manufacturing plants in the area that still heavily utilize two major outlets for industry - the Tennessee River and the railroad. To learn more about the area’s business community, visit the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce and the Morgan County Economic Development Association.
Area residents are drawn here due in part to its proximity to several major southeastern cities, a high quality of living, southern charm, and abundant recreational opportunities. The city sits on the banks of Wheeler Lake, the largest lake in north Alabama at more than 67,000 acres. The lake stretches approximately 60 miles between Guntersville and Wheeler Dams and allows you to choose your spot for prime fishing, boating, or water sports. Point Mallard Park, home of the nation's first wave pool, provides numerous year-round recreational options. Also, the Cook Museum of Natural Science, the Princess Theater Center for the Performing Arts, the Carnegie Visual Arts Center, and Wheeler Wildlife Refuge give locals and guest alike opportunities to learn, live and play in one of the fastest growing parts of the country. To learn more about attractions and events, visit Decatur Morgan County Tourism.
In order to advance our reputation and employee pride, 3M contributes cash and in-kind donations to non-profit organizations, educational, and environmental institutions throughout Alabama. 3M strives to maximize our social impact within our communities and support a culture of service among our people – which includes members of the Decatur workforce volunteering time among a diverse list of area non-profits. To do this, 3Mgives – the non-profit 3M foundation – empowers sites to partner with leading organizations that are aligned to our global footprint and have proven track records for making a difference in our three areas of focus:
3M supports initiatives that increase student interest and achievement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), resulting in a robust and diverse pipeline of global talent.
Learn more about our education programs and partners.
3M enhances community vibrancy by assuring access to basic needs, preparing youth for life-long success, increasing access to quality and diverse arts opportunities, and contributing to global humanitarian relief efforts.
Read about our community investments.
3M invests in environmental initiatives that promote sustainability and environmental stewardship in the communities where we operate. We are committed to supporting organizations focused on conservation and improving air and water quality, as well as environmental learning activities for students.
Find out more about our support of environmental initiatives.