Safe drinking water through wellhead protection

Anoka County residents get their drinking water from either public (municipal) supply wells or private (home) wells. The exception is Columbia Heights and Hilltop communities that get their drinking water from the Mississippi River, supplied by the Minneapolis Water Works. Municipal public water suppliers in Anoka County have established a unique partnership to protect the source of their  drinking water through collaborative implementation of their community wellhead protection plans. Public water suppliers must establish a wellhead protection program that meets federal and state drinking water protection requirements.

Drinking water supply wells must be located and maintained to prevent contamination of the water system. For private (home and cabin) wells the owner has to prevent water pollution from nearby and on property sources (i.e. septic systems, excessive use of lawn chemicals and accidental release of household hazardous chemicals/waste) from reaching their well. See the Well Owners Handbook for details. Private wells may pump 300 to 600 gallons a day. Public water supply wells pump 100,000 to 1,000,000 gallons a day drawing groundwater from a larger area.

Regular testing helps to ensure that the water is – and remains – safe to drink. However, testing sometimes finds contaminants reaching the well that can make the water unsafe to drink. When a contaminant is found the question usually asked: how did it get into the groundwater, the well and the drinking water supply system?

Wellhead protection goes beyond routinely monitoring the quality of water, to protecting the source (groundwater) from pollution. Protecting the source of a community’s drinking water is best achieved through the cooperation of the residents and property owners that drink the water. Public water suppliers are contacting property owners and providing guidance to prevent pollution of the groundwater (aquifer) source of their drinking water.

The Anoka County Municipal Wellhead Protection Group has developed a map application that displays the Drinking Water Supply Management Areas (DWSMA) in Anoka County. A DWSMA outlines a wellhead protection area that is readily identified by landmarks (e.g. property lines, roads, ditches, etc.). Residents and property owners can see if they are in a wellhead protection area. The public water supplier is able to see potential sources of water pollution and well construction reports and unsealing certificates by activating layers in the DWSMA map application.

The members of the Anoka County Municipal Wellhead Protection Group have established an efficient and cost effective cooperative program to protect the groundwater source of community drinking water systems through jointly implementing common elements of their wellhead protection plans.  The municipal members of the ACMWPG combined their resources and energy to establish the website.  Wellhead protection is a program to reduce the impacts of pollution on groundwater near public water supply wells.  The community members of the Municipal Wellhead Protection Group are Andover, Anoka, Blaine, Centerville, Circle Pines, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Lexington, Lino Lakes, Saint Francis and Spring Lake Park.

For more information on the protection of your drinking water contact your public water supplier’s Wellhead Protection Manager.

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