Ramsey Conducting Feasibility Study of Water Treatment Plant

Back in 2019, the City of Ramsey detected manganese, an unregulated contaminant, in higher than recommended levels during routine water testing in some of the City wells. Since then, the City has been closely monitoring its water system for manganese and has reduced overall manganese levels by utilizing the City wells with the lowest levels of manganese. Until recently, the City has been able to keep manganese levels below the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) guidance value using this method*.

As the weather has warmed, City water usage has increased, forcing the City to add water from wells with higher levels of manganese. Therefore, City water system customers may experience higher levels of manganese in their drinking water. Two samples from the City water system had levels of manganese above the MDH guidance value for bottle-fed infants in July 2020. The Minnesota Department of Health recommends that bottle-fed infants not consume water with manganese at levels above 100 ppb (parts per billion). The two samples tested at 108 ppb and 131 ppb. Learn more about manganese in drinking water here. You can monitor monthly manganese levels on the City of Ramsey’s website here.

To reduce levels of iron, manganese, and other contaminants in the City’s water system, the City of Ramsey has determined that, of the long-term options available, only a water treatment plant can ensure these contaminants are effectively removed. Therefore, the City is preparing a feasibility study to investigate the City’s source water chemistry and sustainability, alternative treatment processes, alternative treatment plant sites, estimated costs, and preliminary construction schedules. The study is expected to be completed by the fall of 2020, after which the City Council will decide whether or not to move forward with the construction of a water treatment plant.

In the meantime, residents may choose to use home water treatment units such as refrigerators with water filters, pour-through pitchers, units that attach to faucets, and water softeners to try to remove or reduce particular contaminants in their drinking water. See the Minnesota Department of Health’s “Home Water Treatment” for more information.

Manganese can also be present in varying levels in private wells, so private well owners are encouraged to test their wells for manganese. Residents can usually have this done through the Anoka County Well Water Testing program, however, due to COVID-19, the program is limited to bacteria and nitrates testing only. In the meantime, residents may utilize a private, state-certified water testing laboratory to test their well water for manganese. Check back for updates as to when Anoka County will resume full testing capacity.

*The City of Ramsey noted in their article in the September/October 2020 issue of the Ramsey Resident that a side effect of the City using the wells with the lowest levels of manganese is that the water system has more iron in it. This can result in greater discoloration of clothes, sidewalks, and buildings, however, there are currently no health concerns associated with high iron concentrations.

Minnesota Smart Salting Update

A new Minnesota Smart Salting Update from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is now available. Articles included in this bulletin are:

  • Spots still open! Free online MPCA Smart Salting trainings
  • Hot off the press! New MPCA Smart Salting training intro video
  • Still need your Roads certificate this year? Get it before the snow flies!
  • Be a Smart Salting host – Bring trainings to your area!
  • Save the Date! Virtual MS4 permit chloride discussion
  • Chloride Reduction Leadership Award – City of Hopkins, MN

Click here to read these articles in the full bulletin.

Be sure to check out the new Smart Salting promo video to learn the value of these important trainings! Here it is below:

Upcoming online Smart Salting trainings:

  • Smart Salting for Parking Lots & Sidewalks Certification:
    • October 13th: Hosted by Riley-Purgatory Bluff Creek Watershed District
    • October 20th: Hosted by Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association
  • Smart Salting for Property Management Certification:
    • September 29th: Hosted by Mississippi Watershed Management Organization
    • October 19th: Hosted by Crow Wing Soil & Water Conservation District
    • October 21st: Hosted by Ramsey Washington Metro Conservation District
    • November 2nd: Hosted by Freshwater Society

See the MPCA Smart Salting training calendar to pick a training and register.

SepticSmart Week in Minnesota

Did you know that over 600,000 Minnesota residents and businesses rely on a septic system to treat their wastewater from things like toilets, sinks, and washing machines?

This week (September 14th-20th) is SepticSmart Week in Minnesota, as declared by Governor Tim Walz.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) says this week is a good time to revisit the Do’s and Don’ts of septic systems. The two big Do’s are:

  1. Inspect it (at least every 3 years)
  2. Protect it

Check out this guide by the MPCA to learn how to do these things and to learn what not to do.

By properly maintaining your septic system, you can help protect human health and the environment. You can even save money as well, as septic system repairs caused by a lack of understand about how the system works, or simple neglect, can be quite expensive.

Learn how your septic system works at the MPCA’s Healthy Septic Systems website, which also has additional information for homeowners.

Register to Attend the Online Metro Children’s Water Festival

The 23rd annual Metro Children’s Water Festival is FREE and will be offered online this year from Monday, Sept. 28—Thursday, Oct. 1.

This event has always taken place as an in-person field trip at the State Fairgrounds, but this year, it will be online. The purpose of the festival is to educate 4th grade students about water resources and to present ways they can help ensure a future where both the quantity and quality of water resources are protected and managed wisely.  Although education is geared to meet 4th grade standards, water is vital to everyone, and all interested teachers, students, and their caregivers are welcome to participate.

The festival is offering 9 live online classes via Zoom and 9 pre-recorded sessions that are all about 30-minutes long. Live classes will be followed by time for questions. All classes will be posted on YouTube for future viewing.

Details at metrocwf.org.

Well Sealing Cost-Share Opportunity

If you have an old well that you no longer use, you may be eligible for cost-share funding to seal it! Unused/unsealed wells could be direct conduits for pollution to reach our drinking water supply, so it is important to have them sealed by a professional. To qualify for up to 60% cost-share, unused/unsealed wells must be located in a Drinking Water Supply Management Area in Anoka County. Learn more about the program and see if you qualify here: www.anokaswcd.org/well-sealing. Call Kris Larson at (763) 434-2030 x11 for more information.

The above information was submitted by the Anoka Conservation District. 

Tips for a Healthy Lawn

Healthy lawns can lead to healthy water quality. Curious as to how you can best maintain your lawn and how this can improve water quality? Check out this how-to video from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO).

The video contains information on the following tips:

  • Tip #1: Adjust Your Mower Height
  • Tip #2: Mulch Your Grass Clippings
  • Tip #3: Sweep Up Leftovers
  • Tip #4: Water Wisely
  • Tip #5: Consider Turf Alternatives

A few simple changes to the way our lawns are maintained can make a big difference in our water quality.

Click here to see the original post from the MWMO.

Photo from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization. 

2020 Anoka County Water Resources Report

The Anoka County Public Health and Environmental Services Department has updated its Water Resources Report, which the department typically updates every 5 years in coordination with the Anoka County Water Resources Management Task Force.

Click here to view the 2020 Anoka County Water Resources Report.

 

Brief History of the Report

Following the passage of the Minnesota Groundwater Protection Act of 1989, which emphasized the need for groundwater management planning and implementation by local government having land use authority, metropolitan counties were encouraged to develop groundwater protection plans through legislation (MN Statute 103B.255) and planning grants. As land use planning and zoning within Anoka County is a function of its municipalities, the County originally chose to write a groundwater report instead of a plan. This report has since evolved to encompass all water resources.

 

The report is planned to be updated again in 2025. Questions about the report can be referred to Abby Shea at Abby.Shea@co.anoka.mn.us.

July 2020 On Point Newsletter

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has published a new issue of the On Point newsletter. MPCA’s On Point newsletter includes news and updates for wastewater discharge permit holders.

The following articles are included in the July 2020 newsletter:

  • Cities, Salt Symposium addressing role of water softeners in Minnesota’s chloride pollution problem
  • MPCA updating chloride variance application process
  • Clean Water Partnership loan program reducing water pollution, one project at a time
  • Rock River site-specific standard reflects current science, benefits city of Luverne
  • 311 wastewater facilities recognized for outstanding permit compliance
  • Compliance tip: Post steps for responding to unauthorized discharges
  • Wastewater operator training and certification
  • eDMR Tips: Electronic water quality submittals
  • Wastewater in the news

Click here to read the newsletter. For more information about MPCA wastewater programs, visit the On Point newsletter webpage. Also check out the MPCA’s Wastewater page.

North & East Metro Groundwater Management Area Update

The North and East Metro Groundwater Management Area (GWMA) advisory team met through an online meeting on May 29th. The following were the agenda items discussed at the meeting:

  • An update on the implementation of the North and East Metro Groundwater Management Area plan
  • A discussion on the Governor’s Executive Orders as they relate to the DNR’s water-related responsibilities
  • An update on the 3M settlement and drinking water supply planning
  • A discussion on 2040 projected water demands using the transient groundwater flow model
  • Summaries of water conversation reporting by public water suppliers in the GWMA
  • A presentation on the City of Woodbury’s irrigation efficiency project

Click here to read the full update from the DNR. The presentations and other materials from the meeting can be found here, on the GWMA’s webpage.

The next meeting date is to be announced, but is planned for November 2020. Meetings are open to the public and an announcement will be posted on both the GWMA’s site and Know the Flow when the date, time, and location have been determined. You can also sign up to receive email updates here.

 

The DNR has designated an area in the north and east portions of the metro region as the North & East Metro Groundwater Management Area (GWMA), which includes Washington and Ramsey counties, along with portions of Anoka and Hennepin counties. The Anoka County communities in this GWMA are Blaine, Centerville, Circle Pines, Columbia Heights, Columbus, Fridley, Hilltop, Lexington, Lino Lakes, and Spring Lake Park. The designation as a GWMA “allows a more comprehensive and focused approach to ensuring that groundwater supplies remain adequate to meet human needs, while protecting lakes, streams and wetlands”. For more information on the GWMA, click here to view it’s website.

 

Minnesota Groundwater Contamination Atlas

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has published a new tool: the Minnesota Groundwater Contamination Atlas.

“A tool for learning about polluted groundwater at sites around the state”, the atlas allows users to scan the map or utilize a text-based search to find sites by address, zip code, county, municipality, or site name. As of June 2020, when the atlas went live, the tool only shows active state Superfund sites. Data from other sites will be added in future phases.

In addition to viewing mapped groundwater areas of concern, users can read the contamination story of a particular site and download data. The contamination story for each Superfund site contains a summary of the contamination and remediation or clean-up efforts. Specifically, each story addresses:

  • What is the source of the contamination?
  • What is the contaminant?
  • Where is the contaminated groundwater?
  • Are there drinking water impacts? Included in this section is a short narrative and a graphic that explains where drinking water comes from in the area.
  • Is soil or sediment contaminated?
  • Are their vapor concerns?
  • What cleanup work has been done?
  • What contamination remains at the site? A graphic is included for some areas, showing how deep the contamination extends underground.
  • Future actions.

Screenshot from the Minnesota Groundwater Contamination Atlas.

 

MPCA received funding in 2017 from the Minnesota Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund for the purpose of making groundwater data from Superfund sites more accessible to the public and more useful for technical users. This atlas is the result of their 3-year project, supported by technical assistance from the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

As stated above, this first phase of the atlas displays only areas of concern from Superfund sites. As additional funding becomes available, MPCA has plans to expand the atlas by integrating additional data from other remediation programs.

Click here to use the atlas and for more information on how the maps of areas of concerns are made.

Limited Re-Opening of Anoka County Well Water Testing

Anoka County Environmental Services is re-opening the well water testing program on a limited basis. Water samples for sanitary analysis (bacteria and nitrates) will be accepted one Monday and Tuesday per month with limited hours. Water samples for other analyses (arsenic, manganese, etc.) will not be accepted at this time. An appointment and pre-payment over the phone will be required. Please see the full details below. The upcoming dates and times for water sample collection will be:

  • Monday, July 27th, 1-4 pm
  • Tuesday, July 28th, 9-11:30 am
  • Monday, August 24th, 1-4 pm
  • Tuesday, August 25th, 9-11:30 am

The drop-off table will be located on the 1st floor of the Anoka County Government Center near the main door.

Below are the criteria for dropping off a sample:

  1. Sample kits (sample collection bottle and blue sampling sheet with instructions) must be obtained ahead of time. No kits will be available on the drop-off days. Kit locations are listed below.
  2. A drop-off appointment must be made by calling ahead and paying in advance with a credit card over the phone. No cash or checks allowed, and no credit cards will be accepted the day of drop-off. Call (763) 324-4260 to make an appointment and pay.
  3. The blue sampling sheet must be completed ahead of time. No pens will be available to use at the drop-off table.
  4. Specific water-related questions can be directed ahead of time to Abby Shea at (763) 324-4207.
  5. Only samples for sanitary analysis (bacteria and nitrates) will be accepted at this time. If other testing is desired, it can be performed at a later date or a private laboratory can be recommended.
  6. Social distancing guidelines must be respected, and masks are required. Rules of the drop-off area must be followed.

Water test kits are currently available at the following locations:

  • Andover City Hall
  • Blaine Public Works (1801 101st Ave NE, Blaine; (763) 785-6165 – please call ahead)
  • Centerville City Hall (in the vestibule)
  • East Bethel City Hall
  • Ham Lake City Hall (call and they will set one out for you: (763) 434-9555)
  • Linwood Township Hall
  • Ramsey City Hall
  • St. Francis City Hall

Feel free to call additional city halls to see if they can provide a water test kit.

Water Your Yard and Garden with the Help of a Rainbarrel

The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) has put together a quick guide and how-to video for installing and using a rainbarrel in your yard. You can use rainbarrels to collect rainwater to water your lawn, gardens, plants, and more. Collecting and using rainwater reduces the amount of potable water used for watering. It also helps to reduce the amount of stormwater that runs off of your roof and into your stormdrain, which carries pollutants into our water resources.

 

Click here to read the MWMO’s quick guide on tips and considerations when installing and using a rainbarrel. And see the video below that they published on YouTube, which demonstrates the basics of rainbarrels and the installation process.

 

 

Photo: MWMO, via Clean Water Minnesota. 

Free Watering Wisdom Webinar Series

The University of Minnesota is hosting a free, 5-part webinar series this summer for homeowners called “Watering Wisdom: Growing a Healthy Lawn with Less Water”, focusing on turfgrass and irrigation topics. The goal of the series is to help homeowners have healthier lawns and more efficient irrigation systems. You can join in on as many or as few of the webinars as you’d like. The series will be held on various Tuesdays at 2 pm starting in July and going through September. Each webinar will be 30 minutes with additional time for questions at the end of each one.

Schedule:

  • Outdoor Water Use in the Twin Cities: Am I Using Too Much? – July 7, 2020 at 2 pm
  • Learning to Control Your Irrigation Controller – July 28, 2020 at 2 pm
  • Turfgrass Species for Low-Input Minnesota Lawns – August 18, 2020 at 2 pm
  • Lawn Care Best Management Practices – September 8, 2020 at 2 pm
  • Winterizing Your Lawn – September 29, 2020 at 2 pm

Pre-registration is appreciated, but not required. Pre-register by filling out this online form. The webinars will be offered through Zoom (link, ID, and password below). Please join each webinar at least 5 minutes before the start time.

Zoom link: Watering Wisdom Webinar Series

Webinar ID: 912 6833 0161

Password: 0fA?ez

 

More information:

For more information on the panelists hosting the webinar, how to use Zoom, and contact information, visit the webinar series event page here. A recording of each webinar will also be posted on this page a few days after the webinar occurs.

The webinar series is part of the Twin Cities Lawn Irrigation Efficiency Study funded by the Metropolitan Council and the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

Check out the University of Minnesota’s Irrigation Resources page to learn more about irrigation.

 

Photo: University of Minnesota

 

Online Salt Symposium August 4-5, 2020

The 2020 Salt Symposium, hosted by Fortin Consulting, will be live-streamed August 4th and 5th. The normally in-person event brings together practitioners, researchers, water resource managers, and educators interested in reducing chloride impacts on our waters from winter maintenance and other sources of chloride.

“Salt Symposium shapes the chloride conversation, presenting developments in salt use optimization for people and the environment. Presentations on Day 1 will focus on chloride use in water softening, fertilizer, and dust suppressants. Day 2 will be all about the latest developments in chloride reducing approaches for winter maintenance. Keynote addresses and award presentations will be given both days.”

Content will stream from 7:30 am to about 3 pm both days. Click here for the full agenda.

Additionally, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will be hosting two FREE smart salting certification training sessions online on August 6th.

Click here for more information and to register. Register before July 1st for a discounted rate. Contact Doug Klimbal for questions about the event or registration and contact carolyn@fortinconsulting.com (612-220-4999) for questions about billing.

Don’t miss this opportunity to get up to speed on the latest research and innovation in chloride at this year’s Salt Symposium!

New Video: Our Lakeshore Connection

Anoka County Water Resource Outreach Collaborative partners worked with several local lake associations to produce and fund a new video: Our Lakeshore Connection. The animated video is about lakeshore restoration and stewardship. The beginning of the video helps viewers to understand lakes and what makes a healthy lake and lakeshore. The rest of the video gives viewers steps they can take to become good stewards of their lakeshore. Watch the video below!

 

 

The video has also been broken down into two parts, depending on the interest of viewers and those using the video to educate others:

For more resources on how to restore your lakeshore, visit dnr.state.mn.us/lakescaping. For assistance, contact your lake association, local watershed management entity, or soil and water conservation district.

The following are the sponsors of the video:

Be sure to check out these other videos produced by the Anoka County Water Resource Outreach Collaborative:

Reminder: Anoka County Currently NOT Accepting Water Samples

Reminder: Anoka County Environmental Services is currently NOT accepting water samples. Well Water Wise week 2020 was canceled. 

The Environmental Services Department is exploring options for the potential re-opening of the well water testing program in the near future. However, this is still in the works and no information is available at this time. As the public is currently not permitted beyond the 1st floor of the Government Center, the Department is looking into alternative options. Please check back on this website or the official website at www.anokacounty.us/water – information will be posted on both of these sites when a plan has been determined.

In the meantime, if you need to test your water immediately, see this list of private, state-certified labs that you can utilize. We appreciate your patience!

NPDES General Feedlot Permit Accepting Comments

The MPCA is currently accepting written comments on the draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Feedlot Permit until 4:30 pm on Thursday, July 23rd, 2020.

The proposed permit includes new measures to limit the leaching of nitrates from manure spread on farm fields by extending the required cover crop period for manure application to October (cover crops are required to mitigate the risk of nutrient pollution to groundwater and surface waters from manure) and restricting manure applications in September and October. The draft permit also includes streamlined record-keeping requirements, a revised permit format, and an online application process that will save feedlot owners time. The new permit will become effective February 21st, 2021.

More information on the permit, information on submitting comments, and links to the draft permit and other pages can be found at pca.state.mn.us/featured/mpca-proposes-new-feedlot-permit.

Photo from MPCA website. 

CANCELED – Webinar: Minnesota Stormwater Manual Updates

UPDATE 6/11/2020: Per the MPCA, this webinar has been canceled. “The Minnesota Stormwater Manual website is currently down and due to uncertainty about when it will be back up, we are taking the precaution of rescheduling this webinar. On Monday, June 22 we will send a cancellation reminder and a new date for the webinar. If you have questions, please contact Mike Trojan at mike.trojan@state.mn.us.”

*********************************************************

The MPCA Stormwater Section will host a live webinar on Wednesday, June 24th from 1-2 pm entitled “Minnesota Stormwater Manual updates: Navigation and content”.

Abstract: “As the Minnesota Stormwater Manual wiki has grown, organization and navigation have become challenging. Over the past few months we have begun incorporating some new features and done some reorganizing to improve navigation. This webinar will illustrate these features and provide a forum for you to suggest additional improvements in the wiki. We’ll demonstrate some of these new features using new content incorporated within the past several months.”

Speaker: Mike Trojan, MPCA Hydrologist

Webinar Information: Meeting number (access code): 964 473 507; Meeting password: UPkTcYFG648; Join the meeting here.

The Minnesota Stormwater Manual can be found here.

Contact Mike Trojan at mike.trojan@state.mn.us with questions.

Event Changes Due to COVID-19

The following are event changes due to COVID-19 submitted by various partners of Know the Flow.

If you have additional relevant event changes you would like added to this post, please email Abby.Shea@co.anoka.mn.us.

  • Well Water Wise week has been canceled for 2020.
  • 23rd Annual Metro Area Children’s Water Festival has been moved to an online format. Check www.metrocwf.org for updates.
  • Anoka Riverfest has been postponed to September 26th, 2020.
  • 2020 Ramsey Business Expo has been canceled.
  • Many Spring Plant Sales have been postponed to the fall.
  • Spring Lake Tower Days (June 7), St. Francis Pioneer Days (June 12), Fridley 49er Days Festival (June 18), Columbia Heights Jamboree (June 26), and Columbus’ Fall Fest have all been canceled.
  • The August 13th Smart Salting for Roads Certification that was to be held in Ramsey has moved online. More information coming soon.

Many events and trainings have moved online. Be sure to check in with any events you were planning to attend for updates during this time.

Well Water Wise Week 2020 Canceled

Due to the current situation, Anoka County Environmental Services has made the difficult decision to cancel Well Water Wise week for 2020. With the inability to predict what the coming weeks will bring, the department is unable to commit to a specific date and has decided to cancel rather than continually changing the date.

The department’s well water testing program is currently still not accepting water sample submissions, as the Government Center remains closed to the public, with the exception of minimal services on the first floor. Stay tuned to this website and/or www.anokacounty.us/water. Once an opening date is determined for the program, that date will be posted on these websites.

In the meantime, residents can utilize a private laboratory if they need well water testing done immediately. Click here for a list of state certified laboratories. Most of these are open and accepting samples at this time.

MPCA Smart Salting Assessment Tool Level 2 Certification

How well do you know your organization’s salt use and any likely savings from new practices?

There is an upcoming online MPCA Smart Salting Assessment tool Level 2 Certification on May 20, 2020 from 8 am to noon.

The MPCA Smart Salting Assessment tool (SSAt) is for anyone hoping to track their salt use and take steps to reduce it:

  • Public and private organizations engaged in winter maintenance
  • Winter maintenance leadership
  • Public works managers, supervisors, and lead staff
  • Local governments
  • Small business owners

The SSAt creates a personalized, detailed assessment of your winter maintenance practices. It examines bar and non-bare surfaces: level of service expectations; past, present, and future winter maintenance practices; and salt and cost savings. The certification training will allow attendees to learn to use the tool through the new online format to create current and future practices reports for internal training, budgeting, and communicating with those who fund maintenance work. The tool will help organizations reduce salt use and apply salt efficiently.

There is no fee for this online training, but registration is required. Email environ@co.dakota.mn.us or call 952-891-7000.

This post is based upon an MPCA bulletin. Click here to read the full bulletin for more information.

North and East Metro Groundwater Management Area Meeting: Friday, May 29

The following is a message from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regarding the next meeting of the North and East Metro Groundwater Management Area (GWMA) Advisory Team. The public are invited to attend.

“The North and East Metro Groundwater Management Area Advisory Team will be meeting on Friday, May 29, 2020 through the web-based meeting format WebEx. A link to join the online meeting is available on the N & E Metro Groundwater Management Area webpage. The meeting is scheduled from 9 am to 11 am.

DNR staff will be providing an update on recent activities related to the GWMA plan including a presentation from the city of Woodbury on their water conservation and efficiency efforts. As always, there will be an opportunity for you to provide feedback about the plan implementation.

Groundwater management advisory team meetings are open to all people interested in groundwater issues in Minnesota. We encourage new people to come, as well as those who have attended previous meetings.”

The North and East Metro GWMA includes the Anoka County communities of Blaine, Centerville, Circle Pines, Columbia Heights, Columbus, Fridley, Hilltop, Lexington, Lino Lakes, and Spring Lake Park, along with portions of Hennepin County. The designation as a GWMA “allows a more comprehensive and focused approach to ensuring that groundwater supplies remain adequate to meet human needs, while protecting lakes, streams, and wetlands”. Learn more at the GWMA’s website.

Fishing Opener Reminders

With the fishing opener this weekend, it is important for anglers to remember to “clean, drain, dispose every time” to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Every time a boat comes out of the water, take a few minutes for invasive species prevention. This is true whether or not their is an enforcement officer or watercraft inspector present at the launch. Remember that this is the law in Minnesota.  The required steps are to:

  • Clean aquatic plants and debris from the watercraft,
  • Drain lake or river water and keep drain plugs out during transportation, and
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash – not in the water.

It is also recommended by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that anglers: spray boat and trailer with high-pressure water; rinse boat and trailer with very hot water (120 degrees for 2 min or 140 degrees for 10 sec); or dry boat and equipment for at least 10 days.

More information is available at mndnr.gov/AIS.

Although outdoor activities are allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic, per Executive Order 20-38, the DNR urges outdoor enthusiasts to:

  • Stay close to home
  • Not congregate when outdoors
  • Follow social distancing guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health
  • Remain home if they are ill or exhibiting any symptoms consistent with COVID-19

What does social distancing mean while boating?

  • Only boat with people in your immediate household – do not invite guests or anyone outside your household onto your boat
  • Do not go boating if someone in your group is feeling sick or may have been exposed to someone who is sick
  • When launching your boat, keep a safe distance of at least 6 feet from others

Most state-managed public accesses are open, though the availability of amenities, such as docks, are contingent upon seasonal maintenance.

More information is available on the DNR COVID-19 Response webpage.

COVID-19 and Water Quality

The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies. Based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low. You can continue to use and drink water from your tap as usual. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also encourages the public to help keep household plumbing and our water infrastructure operating properly by only flushing toilet paper. Disinfecting wipes and other items should be disposed of in the trash, not the toilet – even if they claim to be “flushable”.

Due to various shutdowns or reductions in business activities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many buildings are experiencing periods of little to no water usage. As water sits unused in building plumbing systems, water quality problems can arise. Below are the Minnesota Department of Health’s recommendations:

New information is also available for noncommunity public water systems restarting their systems following closure, non-use, or low use. If you did not depressurize your system, see the new COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Noncommunity Public Water Systems. If you depressurized your system over the winter, see the Start-Up Procedure for Seasonal Public Water Systems. This information will help you resume operations safely and avoid water quality problems.

Reminder: If the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) requires you to collect your own water samples, please continue to do so. It is critical that drinking water systems continue to be able to assure their users about water quality. If you have any questions about sampling requirements or sample delivery, please contact your compliance officer

Resources:

Summer 2020 Waterline Newsletter

The Summer 2020 issue of Waterline is now available. “The Waterline is a quarterly newsletter for water operators, city officials, and others interested in news related to public water systems in Minnesota”, published by the Minnesota Department of Health’s Drinking Water Protection program.

Highlights in this issue include an article about how public water systems are continuing to supply drinking water while keeping their customers and employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, news about a new program at St. Paul College for water environment technologies, an attempt to save the “happy” water tower in Freeport, and updates on schools and training for water operators that are being affected by COVID-19.

Articles included in this issue:

  • Coping and Continuing with COVID
    • An Easy, No-Costs Pandemic Drill for Utilities
  • Lead Service Lines: Where Are They?
  • Freeport: Have a Nice Day
  • WUTT Is Happening
  • Anna Schliep Is New Lead in Drinking Water Coordinator
  • Permanent Rules Governing Fluoridation of Municipal Water Supplies Adopted
  • School and Training Update
  • CREAT Is Coming
  • New Addresses for Minnesota Department of Health Water Websites
  • MDH to Reduce Printed Copies of Waterline
  • Reminder to All Water Operators
  • Calendar

Click here to read the issue.

Past issues of the Waterline can be found here.

Subscribe to the Waterline here. 

MnTAP Continues to IMPACT Minnesota Businesses

The Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP)’s mission is “Strengthening Minnesota businesses by improving efficiency while saving money through energy, water, and waste reduction.” In MnTAP’s April newsletter, they highlight the release of their 2019 IMPACT annual report, along with other topics.

MnTAP has released their 2019 IMPACT annual report, summarizing the outreach activities and environmental outcomes achieved for the year. The year’s outcomes include 29.5 million gallons of water saved, waste reduction of over 500,000 pounds, 6.1 million kWh and 55,000 therms of energy saved, and over $1.1 million saved. Each year, MnTAP publishes these Environmental Benefits Reports, which highlight their activities and success and are submitted to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Click here to learn more and to review the 2019 IMPACT report.

Other topics included in the April newsletter include:

  • MnTAP Contributes to Minnesota Business Bottom Line
  • Energy Efficiency Training for Wastewater Treatment Facilities
  • Industrial Water Efficiency Success
  • The MPCA Grant for Emission Reduction from Solvents and Coating
    • Apply now! New Deadline: May 29, 2020

Click here to read the newsletter!

 

Fridley Commons Park Well Field Superfund Site Update

After many years of investigation, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) support the delisting of the Fridley Commons Park Well Field Superfund Site from the National Priorities List (NPL). 

The Fridley Commons Park Well Field site is an active well field with 8 municipal wells and the City of Fridley’s water treatment plant. Water from the wells is blended and treated onsite before it is distributed to the community.

The main contaminant at the site is trichloroethylene (TCE), which has the following risk-based values:

  • Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) established in 1987 by the EPA: 5 micrograms per liter (μg/L) (equal to parts per billion)
    • MCLs are the highest level of a contaminant allowed for public water supplies
  • Health Risk Limit (HRL) established in 1994 by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH): 30 μg/L
    • HRLs are the concentrations of a groundwater contaminant that can be consumed with little to no risk to health
  • Revised HRL in 2007: 5 μg/L
  • Revised HRL om 2015: 0.4 μg/L

The City of Fridley began sampling its wells for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in 1980, and TCE was detected in 2 wells in 1983. However, TCE was not detected in the blended water distributed from the water treatment plant at that time. Subsequent testing revealed that a total of 4 wells were impacted by low levels of TCE. The City of Fridley managed the risk of exposure to contaminated water via a variety of methods including shutting off the well with the highest concentrations from 1989 to 2004, reducing water production from affected wells when demand allowed, and mixing water from impacted wells with water from non-impacted wells. It was ensured that any TCE concentrations in the finished water were below the MCL and HRL and therefore human exposure to TCE from the city’s water system has been below risk-based standards or non-existent.

Despite additional investigations from 2002-2005, the source of the contamination was not identified. In regard to other contaminants, no PFASs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) were detected in any of the wells or water treatment plant. 1,4-dioxane has been detected in 4 wells, however concentrations have been well below the HRL and many have been near detection limits.

Site history:

  • February 1991 – site placed on Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Information System (CERCLIS) inventory of potential hazardous waste sites
  • June 1992 – site added to Minnesota’s Permanent List of Priorities (PLP), which is also known as the state Superfund list
  • February 1999 – site listed on National Priorities List (NPL), which is also known as the federal Superfund list
  • December 2003 – Feasibility Study completed and evaluated several remedial alternatives for the site
  • 2005 – No Action Record of Decision (ROD) was proposed in July and signed in September
    • Additional monitoring of the 4 impacted wells has continued to monitor for TCE, as required by the ROD. Concentrations have been either undetectable or below the MCL and HRL and no breakdown products of TCE were being detected
  • April 2010 – site removed from state Superfund list by MPCA

Since contamination at the site is limited to TCE and 1,4-dioxane in the groundwater, exposure to contamination is limited, the water supply is regulated by MDH under the Safe Drinking Water Act (the City of Fridley provides enhanced monitoring and collects samples at least 2x/year), emerging contaminants are either not detected or are in concentrations substantially below the MCLs and HRLs, and TCE in the site wells has been below the MCL and HRL since 2004, the MPCA and the EPA support the delisting of the site from the National Priorities List (federal Superfund list).

This information was summarized from the MPCA document here. See the full document for more information.

Wells and Flooding

Flooding seems to be happening more and more often in Minnesota, both in the spring as a result of snow melting and and runoff and after large rain events that cause flash flooding. Over the last few years, some places have been experiencing flooding that have not flooded in the past. Floodwater is not clean – it can contain contaminants such as raw sewage and petroleum or hazardous chemicals. For these reasons, it is important that well owners prepare for the possibility that their wells may flood.

The impact that flooding has on wells and water quality are often not as visible as other types of flood damage. It is important to take preventive action now that may save well users more trouble down the road.

If you think your well might become flooded, store a supply of clean water that will last for at least a few days. Shut off power to the well pump to avoid having floodwater pumped into your plumbing system or home. If you only have a little time before a flood, you can cover the well with a heavy plastic bag or sheeting and secure it with electrical tape. This won’t completely protect your well from contamination but will help reduce the amount of water and debris that could enter your well.

If a well is submerged by floodwater, or floodwater comes within 50 feet for a well, the power for the pumping system should be disconnected, and the well should not be used until flooding is over and floodwaters have receded. 

If floodwater reaches your well, assume your well is contaminated. Water from a contaminated well should not be used for drinking, cooking, or brushing your teeth until the floodwater recedes and the following steps have been completed:

  • Avoid electrical shock. Do not approach a flooded well until it has been completely disconnected from its power source.
  • If floodwater covered your well or may have entered your well directly, have a licensed well contractor inspect the well, clean out sediment or debris, and disinfect it. Using your well pump to remove sediment or debris could ruin the pump.
  • If floodwater reached your well but you are confident that floodwater did not enter the well, have a licensed well contractor disinfect your well or complete the disinfection yourself. Detailed instructions are available on the MDH website here.
  • After you or the licensed well contractor disinfects your well and pumps out the chlorine solution, contact Anoka County Environmental Services or another certified water testing laboratory to get your well tested for coliform bacteria.
    • If you well water test comes back positive for coliform bacteria, repeat the disinfection and testing process. You may need to disinfect your well several times before your well is free of bacterial contamination.
    • Do not use the water from your well until you have been informed that it is safe and free of bacterial contamination.

If floodwater came within 50 feet of your well – but did not reach the well – consider having your well water tested for coliform bacteria as a precaution. You do not need to disinfect your well before having it tested. However, if the test comes back positive for bacteria, the well needs to be disinfected.

Wells that meet the standards of the Minnesota Well Code are the safest wells. The Minnesota Well Code (Minnesota Rules, chapter 4725) has many requirements that can protect wells from flooding, including well location, casing height, and approved well caps. The code requires that wells be located and maintained at a distance of 35 feet or more from the normal high-water mark of a lake, river, or stream. For wells completed in flood areas, the code allows several options:

  • The well casing must extend at least 5 feet above the 100-year flood elevation if the 100-year flood elevation is less than 5 feet above the ground surface at the location of the well; or
  • The well casing must extend at least 10 feet above the ground surface if the 100-year flood elevation is more than 5 feet above the surface at the location of the well and the well must have a watertight cap installed on it; or
  • The well casing must extend at least 2 feet above the ground surface and be surrounded by an outer, cement grouted, protective casing that is installed in compliance with the Minnesota Well Code. Both casing must have approved, waterproof caps installed; or
  • The well casing must extend at least 2 feet about the ground surface and a sealed pitless unit spool or flowing well pitless unit is installed. The casing should be covered with an approved, waterproof, non-vented, compression seal well cap.

See the Minnesota Well Code or consult with a licensed well contractor concerning these options. To determine if a well is, or will be, located in an area prone to flooding, you can check floodplain maps here.

For more information, see the Minnesota Department of Health’s Well Management Program’s website.

Click here for a list of licensed well contractors in and around Anoka County.

Minnesotans Invited to Adopt a Drain in Honor of 50th “Earth Day Birthday”

Adopt-a-Drain invites Minnesotans to honor Earth Day’s 50th birthday by cleaning up their own street between April 17th and April 30th. Adopting a storm drain is an easy way to have a positive impact on our environment while maintaining a safe social distance.

Adopt-a-Drain is a program that asks residents to protect nearby lakes, rivers, and wetlands by “adopting” a storm drain near their home. Volunteers sweep leaves, trash, and other debris off the drain and nearby surfaces year-round.

By spending just fifteen minutes cleaning up twice each month, volunteers prevent trash and organic pollutants from flowing through storm drains and into waterways. Since its launch in 2014, Adopt-a-Drain’s 6,000 participants have prevented nearly 200,000 pounds of debris from washing down storm drains and into Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.

Jana Larson, director of the Adopt-a-Drain program, says, “Even though many community cleanup events have been canceled, we can still honor Earth Day by taking joint action to protect Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. Adopt-a-Drain invites everyone to participate in a safe way during social distancing.”

Adopting a drain is a family-friendly activity that can enrich learning at home. Parents and teachers navigating new COVID-19 homeschool arrangements are encouraged to participate in the Earth Day Birthday cleanup and use curricular resources available online at https://waterstothesea.org/AADmodule/. Waters to the Sea is a series of free lesson plans and multimedia activities created by Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education and aligned to Next Generation Science Standards for grades 5-8. Find out more by visiting https://waterstothesea.org/mississippi/.

New volunteers and existing Adopt-a-Drain members who report what they pick up between April 17th and 30th will receive a limited edition temporary tattoo in the mail. To participate, residents in the seven-county metro area, Rochester, and Saint Cloud can adopt a drain and report the amount of debris they collect at adopt-a-drain.org.

The Science Museum of Minnesota is partnering with the Adopt-a-Drain program to promote the Earth Day Birthday celebration; all adopters are encouraged to post photos and videos of their cleaning activities on social media by tagging @adoptadrain and using the hashtags #adoptadrain and #earthdaybirthday2020 to help increase participation in the program.

About Adopt-a-Drain

The Adopt-a-Drain program is a project of Hamline University, with support from the Metro Watershed Partners, a coalition of more than 70 public, private and non-profit organizations committed to water resource education in the Twin Cities metro.

For more information, contact:

Jana Larson

Adopt-a-Drain Program Director

651-523-2812 / jlarson25@hamline.edu

or visit www.Adopt-a-Drain.org

Message to Noncommunity Public Water Systems

The Minnesota Department of Health has issued another message to all noncommunity public water systems:

“The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Drinking Water Protection program recognizes that you face exceptional pressures in operating your facilities and businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak. Understanding the pressures that you face, we want to provide you pertinent information so you can continue providing essential supplies of safe drinking water to the public. In addition to this message, you can access further information for public water systems at Public Water Systems and COVID-19. You can also find general COVID-19 updates at Coronavirus Disease 2019 [COVID-19] where you can sign up for general COVID-19 updates.

Drinking Water Safety and COVID-19

According to the World Health Organization, no detections of the COVID-19 virus have occurred in drinking water supplies and, based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low. You can find more information from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at EPA: Coronavirus and Drinking Water and Wastewater and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at CDC: Water Transmission and COVID-19.

MDH Drinking Water Protection is Here to Help

MDH Drinking Water Protection (DWP) staff are available to assist you. While we have acted to reduce exposure for staff and public water systems by curtailing most field activity, we remain dedicated to working with you in providing safe drinking water. All DWP staff are available via phone and email. We will respond to any questions, concerns, or contamination situations. If follow-up water sampling is needed, our staff will work with you to determine how to do this safely. Do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. Use the Noncommunity Public Water Supply Unit Contact List (PDF) to find the sanitarian and compliance officer for your part of the state, if you are unsure who to contact.

Closures Due to COVID-19

If your facility has experienced an unexpected closure due to COVID-19, or anticipates such a closure soon, please contact your compliance officer as soon as possible or send an email to  health.noncommunitycompliance@state.mn.us. This is especially important if you are required to collect water samples on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Required Water Sampling

If MDH requires you to collect your own water samples, please continue to do so. It is critical that drinking water systems continue to be able to assure their users about water quality. This includes facilities required to collect their own samples for bacteria, nitrate, arsenic, lead & copper, and other contaminants. Note that water system work and sample delivery are part of the critical sectors identified in the Governor’s Stay at Home order.

If you hand deliver samples to a laboratory, we recommend that you confirm they are open and receive direction on specific drop off procedures to maintain social distancing. Please also plan to have the paperwork for your samples completed before traveling to the lab to limit time on site. If you have any questions about sampling requirements or sample delivery, please contact your compliance officer.

Seasonal Public Water Systems

Seasonal public water systems are those that do not operate on a year-round basis, and start up and shut down at the beginning and end of each season. They are required to start up each year according to an approved procedure found at Start-up Procedure for Seasonal Public Water Systems (PDF), and notify MDH of its completion.

If you are the owner/operator of a seasonal water system that fully depressurizes in the off-season, you will receive a reminder notice in the next two weeks with information about the required start-up procedure. After starting up your water system, be sure to complete the notice indicating the date the procedure was completed, and return it to MDH.

If the COVID-19 outbreak has delayed your start-up date, please email compliance staff at health.noncommunitycompliance@state.mn.us or contact your sanitarian. If you are in a delegated local jurisdiction, please contact the local program office.

Although start-up procedure certification is required only for facilities that fully depressurize all their water system(s) in the off-season, those that depressurize only a portion of their system should also follow the approved start-up procedure. This helps ensure these systems are maintained in a sanitary condition. Additional information relating to the start-up procedure is available at Restaurants, Resorts, Campgrounds (Transient).

Safety Precautions When Disinfecting Your Well and Water Sytem

As part of seasonal re-opening or in response to contamination, a well and water system may be disinfected. During this process, high levels of chlorine are circulated throughout your water system, making it dangerous for any contact or consumption. It is important that precautions be taken to minimize the chance for any unintended exposure as follows:

  • Keep children and animals away from the well area while disinfecting;
  • Do not allow anyone to use the water system until the disinfection process is complete;
  • Post a warning notice at each tap such as High Chlorine Warning Notice; and
  • After the disinfection process is complete, thoroughly flush the water system until chlorinated water is entirely removed.

For further guidance on the well and water system disinfection process, please refer to Well Disinfection instructions.

Information for Nontransient Noncommunity Public Water Systems

Certified Operators: During the COVID-19 outbreak, MDH will work with operators and systems having difficulties with operator certification. MDH will not take enforcement against any system because their operator was not able to obtain their training hours as a direct result of COVID-19. Operators are encouraged to maintain training hours to the greatest extent possible using online training options as found on the Minnesota Water Operator Training web page. Once in-person training sessions and operator schools are back in operation, MDH expects any operator who did not have the required renewal hours to complete those hours within 12 months.

Source Water Protection Grants: The “competitive” round of Source Water Protection grants is open for nontransient noncommunity and community public water systems as usual in April. See Source Water Protection Grants page for more details.

Thanks for all your efforts in these difficult circumstances as we work together to keep safe water available all across Minnesota. 

Dave Hokanson, Supervisor, Noncommunity Public Water Supply Unit

New Dates for Well Water Wise Week

Due to the current situation, Well Water Wise week will be postponed this year to June 8-12th, 2020. 

Each year, the Anoka County Public Health and Environmental Services Department, in cooperation with many municipalities and County agencies, puts on the annual Well Water Wise week promotion to encourage residents to check the safety of their private well water. This year will be the 21st annual Well Water Wise week, which is usually held the first full week of May.

County residents may pick up a well water test kit at the participating locations listed below or at the Anoka County Government Center (2100 3rd Ave, Suite 600, Anoka, MN 55303).

Water samples can normally be submitted to Environmental Services for sanitary analysis (coliform bacteria and nitrate) every Monday from 8 am to 4:15 pm and Tuesday from 8 to 11:45 am (excluding holidays).

During Well Water Wise week, however, samples can be submitted Monday through Thursday 8 am to 4:15 pm and Friday 8 to 11:45 am. 

The well water testing kit includes details about water collection and submission. A laboratory fee of $30 will be charged for the sanitary analysis. Results will be mailed to residents approximately 2-3 weeks after sample submission.

If you would like to test your well for other components besides or in addition to the sanitary analysis (coliform bacteria and nitrate), please stop by Anoka County Environmental Services or call 763-324-4260.

Participating Pick-Up Locations:

  • Andover City Hall
  • Anoka Conservation District (Ham Lake)
  • Blaine City Hall
  • Bunker Hills Activity Center (Andover)
  • Centerville City Hall
  • Columbus City Hall
  • East Bethel City Hall
  • Ham Lake City Hall
  • Lino Lakes City Hall
  • Linwood Town Hall
  • Nowthen City Hall
  • Oak Grove City Hall
  • Ramsey City Hall
  • St. Francis City Hall

Late Ice and Open Water Safety

The following DNR news release highlights the need to take lots of precaution with ice conditions this time of year. Stay safe!

“As the winter-to-spring transition unfolds, the way people experience the change in seasons will be a little different this year. But while we stay close to home for our outdoors time and practice social distancing, one thing remains the same. People must put their safety first, especially around lakes and rivers where the ice conditions vary around the state. With many lakes and rivers now ice-free, and the ice where it remains getting weaker by the day, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers remind people to be especially vigilant.

‘Ice conditions can be dangerously deceptive this time of year, and people should either stay off altogether or check its thickness frequently with a chisel as they’re walking out,’ said Rodmen Smith, director of the DNR Enforcement Division. ‘If they’re around open water, people need to know the consequences of a fall into cold water can be tragic.’

Falling into cold water causes people to gasp involuntarily and inhale water. Even strong swimmers can be incapacitated quickly. Wearing a life jacket – whether on late-season ice or near open water – gives people a fighting chance to survive a fall into cold water. Anyone on the ice should have ice picks and a whistle with them, and all people who recreate near water should tell someone where they’re going and when they plan to return.

Given their innate curiosity about ice and water, children are especially vulnerable. Adults should ensure kids stay away from ice or open water unless they’re accompanied by a responsible adult.

People who go fishing, which is one of the outdoors activities Gov. Tim Walz highlighted in his “Stay at Home” executive order, should fish waters close to their home. Anglers should share a boat only with people in their immediate household, and maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet between them and other anglers whenever launching their boat or while on the water.

For additional information about ice safety, visit mndnr.gov/icesafety. See mndnr.gov/safety/boatwater/cold-water.html for tips about staying safe in cold water.”

Anoka County Not Accepting Water Samples

With the health and safety of county residents being of utmost concern, the Anoka County Board has decided to close all public-facing services until further notice. This will include the acceptance of water samples. It is not known at this time when sample acceptance is expected to resume. Please stay tuned to this website for updates. 

For information on COVID-19, please use www.anokacounty.us/554/Environmental-Health-Services and www.anokacounty.us/covid19 as resources.

Noncommunity Public Water System COVID-19 Information

The following is a message from the Minnesota Department of Health to all Noncommunity Public Water Systems:

“Owners and Operators of Noncommunity Public Water Systems:

The COVID-19 outbreak has presented many challenges across the state. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Drinking Water Protection program recognizes that you face many pressures in running your facilities and businesses at this time. Understanding that you have many things on your mind, we do want to provide you with some pertinent information regarding COVID-19 and noncommunity public water systems. You can also find general updates at: Coronavirus Disease 2019 [COVID-19].

 

Is drinking water safe

You may be wondering if COVID-19 is transmitted via drinking water. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies and the risk to water supplies is low. You can find more information from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the following web pages:

 

MDH Drinking Water Protection’s role

MDH Drinking Water Protection staff remain available to assist you. While we have taken steps to reduce exposure for staff and public water systems by curtailing field activity and moving staff to telework, we remain dedicated to working with you in providing safe drinking water. All staff are available via phone and email, and will respond to any questions, concerns or contamination situations.

So, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. See the Noncommunity Public Water Supply Unit Contact List (PDF) where you can find the sanitarian and compliance officer for your part of the state. Also, look for periodic updates from MDH as new information becomes available.

 

Sampling and laboratories

If you are required by MDH to collect your own water samples, please continue to do so at this time. It is critical that drinking water systems continue to be able to assure their users about water quality.

The laboratories that analyze your water samples are doing their part to maintain operations while protecting their employees. Note that if you hand deliver samples to a laboratory, we recommended that you first check their website, confirm that they are open and receive additional direction on how to drop off samples; some laboratories are changing their drop off procedure to maintain social distancing. If you have any questions, please contact your compliance officer.

 

Thanks for all your efforts in these difficult circumstances as we work together to keep safe water available all across Minnesota.”

Online Turfgrass Maintenance Certification Training April 9th

This 6 hour training from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will help you improve your turfgrass maintenance through presentations and class exercises. The practices taught will help you SAVE money, time, and the environment. The course is FREE and will be taught online – register (see below) for a link.

Training Topics:

  • How turfgrass maintenance affects surface and groundwater
  • Understanding the life cycle of turf and weeds and how this affects maintenance
  • Soil testing, selection and application of fertilizers
  • Equipment calibration & maintenance
  • Mowing techniques
  • Efficient and effective irrigation
  • Weed control practices
  • … and more

Optional Certification

An optional test is offered at the end of the training to earn Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Level I Certification in Turfgrass Maintenance Best Practices. Certified individuals are listed on the MPCA website.

Who Should Attend?

City park departments, schools, property managers and private maintenance companies. This class does not cover golf course or athletic field maintenance. 

Register by contacting Britta Dornfeld at Coon Creek Watershed District: bdornfeld@cooncreekwd.org or 763-258-7305.

Funding for this training is provided by MPCA through a grant from US EPA, Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Fund, Anoka County Parks, and the Coon Creek Watershed District. The course and materials were originally developed for the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization by Fortin Consulting, Inc. Content was created and reviewed through extensive collaboration with local experts.

One More Week to Register for the 2020 Children’s Water Festival

There is still time to sign up your 4th grade classes for the 2020 Metro Area Children’s Water Festival! Registration closes ONE WEEK from today – March 20th, so sign up today!

The Metro Area Children’s Water Festival is open to all metro area 4th grade classes and homeschool students. The festival teaches children about the water cycle and other water-related topics that help children appreciate their natural environment and our water resources.

This year’s festival will have more than 45 interactive learning stations, including the Science Museum of Minnesota. The festival is Wednesday, September 30th, 2020 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Festival organizers wish every class could come, but the festival is very popular, and the number of students that can be accommodated is limited, so sign up today! Classes selected to attend will be contacted in mid-April.

For more information, head to the festival website at www.metrocwf.org. Register online at www.metrocwf.org/registration.

If you have any questions regarding festival registration and selection, please contact Abby Shea at 763-324-4207 or Abby.Shea@co.anoka.mn.us.

New Video – Our Groundwater Connection: Contamination

This past summer, the video “Our Groundwater Connection” was posted by the Anoka County Water Resource Outreach Collaborative.

Yesterday, a second video was released, called “Our Groundwater Connection: Contamination”. This video builds on the information viewers learned from the first video, focusing on contamination. The video explains different sources of pollution, how pollutants travel and build up over time, and what happens when wells become contaminated. It also explains how to prevent pollution, since we all have a role to play. As the video states, “Everyone has the responsibility to stop contamination from getting into our groundwater. When we work together to prevent pollution, we can ensure clean drinking water now, and for many generations to come.”

The project was only possible due to the members of the Water Resource Outreach Collaborative pooling their resources. The Collaborative would like to say thank you to our partners from Washington County Public Health and Environment and the Minnesota Department of Health for their input.

Check out the video below!

Source Water Protection Grants Available

Two separate grant programs will be accepting applications between Monday, March 2, 2020 at 8 am and Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 4:30 pm. The two grant programs, both supporting source water protection, are:

  • Plan Implementation Grant for community and nontransient noncommunity public water supply systems who have an MDH-approved Wellhead Protection Plan or an MDH-endorsed surface water intake protection plan
  • Noncommunity Transient Grant for transient noncommunity public water supply systems.

The purpose of the Plan Implementation Grant is to help public water suppliers implement source water protection measures included in their MDH approved or endorsed plan. These grants do not require a cost share. The minimum grant amount is $1,000 and the maximum grant amount is $10,000. Click here for more information, including frequently asked questions, and to download an application.

 

The purpose of the Noncommunity Transient Grant is to support measures that address a potential contamination source that presents a high risk to a source of drinking water as determined by the Minnesota Department of Health. An equal cost share is required for receiving this grant. The minimum amount for any grant is $250 and the maximum amount is $10,000. Click here for more information, including frequently asked questions, and to download an application.

We Are Water Exhibit at Science Museum

Now through March 22nd at the Science Museum of Minnesota, check out the We Are Water MN exhibit!

The We Are Water MN traveling exhibit examines water issues statewide and in local communities through personal stories, histories, and scientific information. It strengthens Minnesotans’ relationships with water, exposes visitors to new perspectives, and increases participation in water stewardship activities.

The exhibit is located in the lobby of the museum and no admission fee is required in the lobby.

Learn more about the We Are Water exhibit here.

2020 MnTAP Program Available

Business seeking to save money by conserving water and reducing wastewater discharges, energy use, or industrial waste are invited to apply to the University of Minnesota’s Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) Intern Program. Applications are being accepted now for 2020.

The internship program is supported by the Met Council’s water supply planning department, using Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment funds. The Met Council is making $315,000 available over three years to support 15 interns.

The University handles recruitment, hiring, and intern coaching. Student internships are competitive.

Businesses: Learn more and apply here.

Students: Information about MnTAP internships.

This information was summarized from an article published on 2/14/2020 by the Met Council.

2020 Children’s Water Festival Registration Now Open

Attention 4th grade teachers! Sign up your 4th grade classes NOW for the 2020 Metro Area Children’s Water Festival! 

4th grade teachers can sign up their classes for the 2020 Metro Area Children’s Water Festival starting now. The deadline to sign up is Friday, March 20th, 2020.

The Metro Area Children’s Water Festival is open to all metro area 4th grade classes and homeschool students. The festival teaches children about the water cycle and other water-related topics that help children appreciate their natural environment and our water resources.

This year’s festival will have more than 45 interactive learning stations, including the Science Museum of Minnesota. The festival is Wednesday, September 30th, 2020 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Festival organizers wish every class could come, but the festival is very popular, and the number of students that can be accommodated is limited, so sign up today! Classes selected to attend will be contacted in mid-April.

For more information, head to the festival website at www.metrocwf.org. Register online at www.metrocwf.org/registration.

If you have any questions regarding festival registration and selection, please contact Abby Shea at 763-324-4207 or Abby.Shea@co.anoka.mn.us.

New MDA Groundwater Protection Rule – Restriction Areas Map Available

Areas where the application of nitrogen fertilizer in the fall or on frozen soils will be restricted have been determined. These areas include much of Anoka County (see the image below).

This restriction is part of the new Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Groundwater Protection rule (Minnesota Rules Chapter 1573). The rule minimizes potential sources of nitrate pollution to our groundwater and thus protects drinking water. With two parts, the rule creates restrictions on the application of nitrogen fertilizer in the fall in areas that are vulnerable to contamination and outlines steps to address and reduce the severity of elevated nitrate levels when they already exist in public water supply wells.

The intention of the rule is “to promote appropriate nitrogen fertilizer best management practices (BMPs) and to involve local farmers and agronomists in adopting the most current science-based and economically viable practices that can reduce nitrate in groundwater”. Click here to learn more about Alternative Management Tools (AMTs). MDA says that “the goal is to involve local farmers and agronomists in problem-solving to address increased levels of nitrate in groundwater”.

Part 1

Notification of areas subject to the restrictions established in Part 1 is happening now and the restrictions will take effect this fall in September 2020. Part 1 of the rule establishes restrictions on application of nitrogen fertilizer if you farm in:

  1. An area with vulnerable groundwater (much of Anoka County)
  2. Protection areas around a public well, known as drinking water supply management areas (DWSMAs), with already high nitrate levels (none in Anoka County at this time)
    • “High” nitrate is determined as 5.4 mg/L or greater nitrate-nitrogen

The “Vulnerable Groundwater Areas” are designated by quarter sections and are determined by one of the following criteria:

If 50% or more of a quarter section is considered vulnerable, the entire quarter section is included. Click here to see an interactive map of these areas across the state. In these Vulnerable Groundwater Areas, nitrate can move easily through soil and into groundwater, which can contaminate groundwater resources.

Part 2

Regulation of Part 2 of the rule, which responds to DWSMAs that already have elevated nitrate levels, could be three years after the rule takes place, at the earliest, and after a DWSMA is determined to meet certain criteria. The goal of this part of the rule is to take action to reduce nitrate levels in groundwater before a public well exceeds the health standard for nitrate of 10 mg/L.

More information

For more information on the rule, check out the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s website on the topic at https://www.mda.state.mn.us/nfr.

 

MPCA Smart Salting Program News

The MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) Smart Salting Program is “for winter maintenance and property management professionals seeking to maintain safe surfaces using less salt”.

Topics in the 2/10/2020 bulletin include:

  • Several Smart Salting trainings coming up in February (see below)
  • The 20th Annual Salt Symposium will be on August 5th, 2020 – topics: the latest chloride research and innovations, water softening, dust control, fertilizers, and more. Registration opens in March.
  • Salt success in the news – Wright County Highway Dept
  • Free resources to manage public awareness of chloride reduction

Click here to read the bulletin.

Upcoming Smart Salting Trainings:

  • Smart Salting for Property Management: 2/11/2020, 9:00 am-1:00 pm, Host: City of Edina
  • Parking Lots and Sidewalks Smart Salting Training: 2/12/2020, 9:00 am-1:30 pm, Host: Ceres Environmental
  • Parking Lots and Sidewalks Smart Salting Training: 2/18/2020, 9:00 am-1:30 pm, Host: Nine Mile Creek Watershed District
  • Parking Lots and Sidewalks Smart Salting Training: 2/26/2020, 9:00 am-1:00 pm, Host: Damel Corporation, Inc.
  • Parking Lots and Sidewalks Smart Salting Training: 2/28/2020, 8:00 am-1:00 pm, Host: YMCA-Twin Cities

For registration information and locations, see the bulletin.

Spring 2020 Waterline Out Now

The Spring 2020 issue of Waterline is out now! “The Waterline is a quarterly newsletter for water operators, city officials, and others interested in news related to public water systems in Minnesota”, published by the Minnesota Department of Health’s Drinking Water Protection program.

Highlights in this issue include a special story on how the Xcel Energy Center uses St. Paul water to make the ice rink for the Minnesota Wild, a Star Tribune article on water towers (“Why Do We Have Water Towers and What Do They Do?”), a story on a new canine employee at Central Arkansas Water, and the introduction of “Patty Potty” – a creation of the San Jacinto River Authority in Texas to promote its “No Wipes in the Pipes” campaign.

Articles included in the issue:

  • Help Possible for Lead Service Line Replacements
  • What Are Those Spaceship-Looking Things?
  • Water-Wastewater Utilities Treatment and Technology Program Update
  • Community Water Supply Additions
  • Service Connection Fee Increase Takes Effect
  • Sniff This
  • Metro School to Have Special Day for Superintendents and Supervisors
  • Surface-Water Optimization Training in Minnesota
  • Crookston Honored with People’s Choice Award
  • Wild Rink Starts with St. Paul Water
  • Randall Gets Award from the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Grants Awarded for Bottle-Filling Stations
  • Lake Harriet Pump
  • Lewis & Clark Project to Benefit from Increase in Rural Water Funding
  • EPA Turns 50
  • Check out Patty Potty and Other Worthy Sites
  • New Addresses for Minnesota Department of Health Water Websites

Click here to read the issue.

Past issues of the Waterline can be found here.

Subscribe to the Waterline here. 

Reminder: Upcoming Well and Septic Maintenance Training

Have you signed up for the upcoming well and septic maintenance training? If not, sign up today!

Below is the original post from this past October:

“Do you own your own well? How about a septic system? Do you wish you had a better idea of how to take care of them? Then you should plan on attending this upcoming class! Attendees will be provided with a maintenance manual to keep. Refreshments and snacks will be provided.

In partnership with the City of Ramsey and the UMN Onsite Sewage Treatment Program, the Anoka Conservation District invites you to a free septic system and private well homeowner education class on Thursday, March 12th from 5-7 pm in the Ramsey City Hall’s Alexander Ramsey Room (7550 Sunwood Dr NW, Ramsey, 55303). Space is limited, so reserve your seat early. Register online here!

Learn about:

  • Potential contaminants in your drinking water well
  • How and when to inspect and maintain your septic system
  • Impacts of faulty or damaged wells and septic systems

Please email Emily Johnson at Emily.Johnson@AnokaSWCD.org or call her at 763-434-2030 x17 with any questions.”

‘Relief’ Art Exhibit Open House

Check out a new art exhibit – Relief – Saturday, February 1, 2020 from 10 am to noon at the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization Stormwater Park and Learning Center.

Relief explores how technological experiences influence the way we understand the outdoors. Artist Alyssa Baguss creates tactile cartographic experiences of Minnesota’s natural water features through experimental processes and materials. (Guests are encouraged to touch the artwork!)

Socialize over coffee, stream tables and art-making. Alyssa Baguss will host a morning of water-related activities paired with beverages and fantastic views of the Mississippi River.

This exhibition was made possible through a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant.

The MWMO Stormwater Park and Learning Center is located at 2522 Marshall Street NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418.

How to Test Your Well Water Video

Have you seen the Minnesota Department of Health’s new well water testing video? Click here to watch it.

The video explains what contaminants should be tested for and when to test your well water. The image below shows the most significant contaminants to test for:

Anoka County Environmental Services offers a well water testing program. Call 763-324-4260 for more information. You can also search for an accredited lab here. Learn more at www.health.state.mn.us/wellwater.

Workshop: Fight Snow and Ice, Pollution Free

The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) is hosting a workshop called “Fight Snow and Ice, Pollution Free” on Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 from 1 to 2:30 pm at the Columbia Heights Library (3939 Central Avenue NE, Columbia Heights, MN 55421). Below is the event description:

“Warm up with hot cocoa and treats while you learn ways to prevent slippery sidewalks using methods that prevent pollution in local waterbodies. Tour the Columbia Heights Library and learn how features built into its landscape reduce the need to use deicers, add winter beauty, and filter out water pollutants in the spring. Participate in a fun, hands-on demonstration and take home your own copy of the MWMO’s Good Neighbor Guide.”

The workshop is free, but registration is required. Click here to register.

MWMO’s New “Path to the River” Tool

The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) recently published a blog post about their new Path to the River tool, which is also embedded into their new stormwater Story Map.

The tool allows residents to see exactly how water flows from their street into the river, including the path it takes, how fast it moves, and the amount of pollution it carries, by simply clicking on a point on a map of the watershed. If runoff is being captured and treated by a known stormwater best management practice, the tool will also show that.

[Click on the photo to enlarge]

The Path to the River tool is also embedded into a new Story Map, which “highlights how our changing landscapes impact water quality, and showcases the MWMO’s water quality monitoring program and green infrastructure projects”. It should be noted that the Path to the River tool included in the Story Map is slightly different than the main tool.

For more information on the tool and its background, see the full MWMO blog post by Nick Busse, Communications Principal. The post also includes a YouTube video introducing the tool and demonstrating how to use it.

Click here to go to the Path to the River tool.

Click here to go to the Story Map.

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve Upcoming Events

There are a number of upcoming events hosted by the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, including:

  • 1/22/2020, 6:30-8 pm – Ecology Book Club at Cedar Creek
  • 2/11/2020, 11:30 am-1 pm – Lunch with a Scientist: Nutrient Alteration
  • 2/18/2020, 12-1 pm – Monthly Forestry Webinar
  • 2/22/2020, 11 am-12 pm – Animals in Winter at the Johnsville Library
  • 2/26/2020, 6:30-8 pm – Ecology Book Club at Cedar Creek
  • 3/10/2020, 11:30 am-1 pm – Lunch with a Scientist: Climate Change
  • 3/17/2020, 12-1 pm – Monthly Forestry Webinar
  • 3/19/2020, 11 am-12:30 pm – Spring Equinox Hike
  • 3/25/2020, 6:30-8 pm – Ecology Book Club at Cedar Creek
  • 3/28/2020, 7:30-10 pm – Spring Star Party

More information can be found in the Winter 2020 issue of the Field Notes newsletter. Newsletters can be found here.

Chloride Salt Learning Tool

“What happens when salt gets in our water sources?”

Check out this new learning tool developed by graduate students! The tool illustrates how chloride salts from water softeners and winter application can affect infrastructure and vehicles, health, the environment, and pets and how you can reduce the salt in our water.

Save Your Bait, Save Our Lakes

As the weather gets colder, ice anglers are gearing up for the winter fishing action. While you are packing up all the equipment you will need for the fishing trip, don’t forget your bait. While there are many types of bait on the market now, many anglers still prefer live bait over many others. The question is, what do you do with your bait after your fishing trip is over? Do you dump it in the trash, dump it in the lake, or let it freeze on the ice? There are many ways to dispose of live bait after the fishing trip is over. Some humane, some help others, and some are illegal. Did you know it is illegal to release live bait into Minnesota waters? There is a hefty fine attached, so instead of releasing live bait into the fishing hole, consider some other options: take bait home to reuse for a future trip, give it to another angler to use, or throw them away in the trash. By releasing live bait into Minnesota waters, you could be spreading aquatic invasive species into the environment. Invasive carp can often be used for common fishing bait and can be spread by anglers when they release their minnows into the water. Crayfish is another fishing bait that can also be invasive and cause problems with our lakes. There are a couple species of Crayfish that are invasive and causing fish habitat problems here in Minnesota. Join many others by helping save our lakes from invasive species by not releasing your live bait into our valued Minnesota waters.

 

— This article was submitted by Jessica Abarca, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator, Anoka County Parks

North & East Metro Groundwater Management Area Update

The DNR has designated an area in the north and east portions of the metro region as the North & East Metro Groundwater Management Area (GWMA), which includes Washington and Ramsey counties, along with portions of Anoka and Hennepin counties. The Anoka County communities in this GWMA are Blaine, Centerville, Circle Pines, Columbia Heights, Columbus, Fridley, Hilltop, Lexington, Lino Lakes, and Spring Lake Park. The designation as a GWMA “allows a more comprehensive and focused approach to ensuring that groundwater supplies remain adequate to meet human needs, while protecting lakes, streams and wetlands”.

The DNR and an Advisory Team created a 5-year management plan in 2015 and continue to meet semi-annually to update each other on the various projects going on within the GWMA. The group last met on December 13, 2019 and discussed a variety of information, including:

  • A recently launched study that will assess the feasibility of enhancing groundwater recharge
  • An update on the White Bear Lake court case
  • An update on the transient groundwater flow model developed for the White Bear Lake area
  • An update on the 3M settlement project.

Click here to read the full update from the DNR. Previous updates from the DNR can be found here.

For more information on the GWMA, click here to view it’s website. The group will meet next in the Spring of 2020. Meetings are open to the public and an announcement will be posted on both the GWMA’s site and Know the Flow when the date, time, and location have been determined.

UMN Extension Hiring Watershed Extension Educator

The University of Minnesota Extension is hiring a Watershed Extension Educator! Please see the message below:

“We are hiring an Extension educator with faculty rank to focus on helping communities and watershed address their water management challenges. The educator will collaborate with diverse organizations to identify, develop, implement, and evaluate educational programs that will have a measurable impact on water resources by engaging with water professionals, policy-makers, farmers, land managers, and others across the state.

 

Required qualifications include:

  • A master’s degree in natural or water resources sciences, hydrology, lakes management, limnology, watershed science and management, or closely related field.
  • Experience and education in watershed management, lakes and aquatic ecosystems systems, hydrology, limnology, natural resources management, or related disciplines.
  • A proven ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships and collaborations with colleagues, partners, and stakeholders, including those that may have diverse missions, goals, cultures, and backgrounds (e.g., regional water managers, community officials, legislators, program participants, and industry groups).
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • A demonstrated ability using technology to enhance learning.
  • A valid driver’s license and own means of transportation, and applicable vehicle insurance.
  • Use of personal cell phone.

The position will be based in one of the UMN Extension regional offices outside of the metro area, based on candidate preference and available space.

 

More information and instructions for applying can be found at the job posting or by visiting https://humanresources.umn.edu/content/find-job and searching for Job ID 334924.

 

The initial application deadline is February 3, 2020.

For questions about this position, contact Jodi DeJong-Hughes, Extension Educator – Water Resources, dejon003@umn.edu

For questions about applying online, contact Tiffany McMillan, Extension Human Resources, tiffmcm@umn.edu

NO Well Water Samples Accepted Week of 12/23

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: 

Due to laboratory closure, Anoka County Environmental Services will NOT be accepting well water samples 12/23 or 12/24. Starting 12/30, samples will again be accepted as usual (Mondays 8 am to 4:15 pm and Tuesdays 8 to 11:45 am). You will still be able to pick up test kits (empty bottles and collection instructions).

Please call 763-324-4260 will any questions or concerns regarding Anoka County’s Well Water Testing Program.

EPA Considers Regulating Perchlorate

Minnesota systems are unlikely to be affected.

The following article was posted in the Winter 2019-2020 edition of Waterline, a quarterly newsletter related to public water systems in Minnesota published by the Minnesota Department of Health’s Drinking Water Protection Program.

“The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a maximum contaminant level (MCL) and MCL goal (MCLG) for perchlorate of 0.056 parts per million (ppm). Perchlorate is a chemical compound from commercially produced sales. The EPA has been studying perchlorate because of potential contamination to water, which can reduce hormone production in the thyroid gland.

The EPA is proposing requirements for water systems to conduct monitoring and reporting for perchlorate and to provide information about perchlorate to their consumers through public notification and consumer confidence reports. It includes a list of treatment technologies that would enable water systems to comply with the MCL, including affordable compliance technologies for small systems serving 10,000 persons or fewer.

The EPA is also considering and has sought public comments on instead setting the MCL and MCLG at 0.018 ppm or at 0.090 ppm.

Another alternative is to not regulate perchlorate in drinking water based on new information that perchlorate does not occur in public water systems with a frequency and at levels of public-health concern.

The Minnesota Department of Health tested some community water systems in the state under the first Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule in the early 2000s; it found no detections over 0.018 ppm. As a result, the department does not anticipate many, if any, MCL violations among public water systems in the state, even if a standard is adopted.”

You can view the whole newsletter and/or subscribe to The Waterline here.

New Impaired Waters List

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is required to publish a list of impaired waters in the state every two years. The draft 2020 list is available here and public comments will be accepted until January 20th, 2020. Public meetings have been scheduled, with one in St. Paul (520 Lafayette Road N, St. Paul, MN 55155) on December 19th, 2019 at 1 pm. The impaired waters can also be viewed with the impaired waters viewer (IWAV) interactive map. This year’s list includes 581 new impairments.

Anoka County water bodies listed in the 2020 impaired waters inventory include:

  • Coon Lake
  • Linwood Lake
  • Martin Lake
  • Sunrise River, West Branch
  • Typo Lake
  • Bald Eagle Lake
  • Baldwin Lake
  • Cedar Creek
  • Centerville Lake
  • Clearwater Creek
  • Coon Creek
  • County Ditch 17
  • Crooked Lake
  • Crooked Brook
  • East Moore Lake
  • East Twin Lake
  • Lake George
  • George Watch Lake
  • Golden Lake
  • Ham Lake
  • Mahoney Brook
  • Marshan Lake
  • Mississippi River
  • Otter Lake
  • Peltier Lake
  • Reshanau Lake
  • Rice Lake
  • Rice Creek
  • Rum River
  • Sand Creek
  • Sandy Lake
  • Seelye Brook
  • Silver Lake
  • Trott Brook

For more information on defining impaired waters, click here.

WDE Landfill Update – Drum Layer Removal Complete

The WDE Landfill is a closed hazardous waste pit in Andover that is managed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

For background information and the history of the WDE landfill, click here.

Site clean-up began this past summer of 2019. Below is the most recent update on the project from the MPCA:

“On October 10, 2019 the WDE Landfill reached a significant milestone when crews completed removal of the drum layer in the hazardous waste pit. The drum layer excavation is the most complex portion of the project and presented the highest risk. We are pleased this task was completed safely and without incident. The following was removed:

  • 1,425 empty or non-intact drums
  • 397 drums with recoverable contents
  • 225 cubic yards of empty drums
  • 4,270 tons of non-hazardous soil
  • 1,080 tons of hazardous waste soil

This project is on track to excavate the pit and fill with clean soil as well as remove the temporary enclosure by Thanksgiving. Final transport of the removed soils will likely continue through the end of the calendar year.”

For more information, click here to reach the project website.

Reminder: AIS Prevention Aid Program Stakeholder Meeting This Week

The Anoka County Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) team will be leading a stakeholder meeting to discuss the AIS Prevention Aid Program. They will summarize this year’s activities and discuss what the program may look like moving forward. Please join them to share your constructive insights and comments.

The meeting will be held this Thursday, November 21st from 2-3:30 pm at the Bunker Hills Activities Center (Maple Room).

Agenda Items:

  1. Welcome and Summary of County AIS Program for 2019
  2. Review Draft for 2020 AIS Prevention Aid Guidelines
  3. Identify Gaps in the Guidelines and Explore Additional Needs and Ideas to Improve the AIS Prevention Aid Program
  4. Wrap-Up and Adjourn

Let Jessica Abarca (Anoka County Parks Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator) know if you have any questions about the meeting or the program. She can be reached at Jessica.Abarca@co.anoka.mn.us or 763-324-3333.

Clean Drinking Water Poster Contest

Calling all Minnesota students! Design a poster about how or why all Minnesotans should conserve and protect our drinking water – you will learn about drinking water and help be an advocate… you could even win a water bottle filling system for your school! Safe drinking water is everyone’s responsibility. It’s up to all of us to keep it clean and safe, now and for the future.

ENTRY DEADLINE: March 6th, 2020

First place winners in each grade category will receive an Elkay Water Bottle Filling System for their school/community and a $50 prize. Second and third place category winners will receive gift certificates. Winners will be announced on March 23, 2020.

Categories: Elementary (grades K-5), Middle school (grades 6-8), and High school (grades 9-12).

Click here for the Contest Rules – be sure to read them carefully to ensure you are eligible for the contest.

The Contest Website also has links to learn more about the issue to help you create an informative poster.

Waterline: Winter 2019-2020 Out Now

The latest issue of Waterline, the official newsletter of the Drinking Water Protection Section of the Minnesota Department of Health, is now available online.

Click here to read the latest issue.

This issue has news about training and regulatory information, a feature story about innovative water plants in south-central Minnesota, and more.

You can find past issues of Waterline here.

You can also subscribe to get new issues of Waterline delivered right to your email inbox. There is a link on both of the webpages linked above to subscribe.

Lower Rum River WMO Plan Update – Resident Survey Open

If you live in Ramsey, Anoka, or the North/West part of Andover (see map below), you live in the Lower Rum River Watershed. The Lower Rum River Watershed Management Organization (WMO) is starting the update to their Water Management Plan and they want to hear from you!

Take a few minutes to thoughtfully answer a couple short questions at the link below:

Click here to go to the resident survey.

Your responses are appreciated! For more information, click here to visit their website.

Below is a close-up of the Lower Rum River Watershed:

Agenda for North & East Metro GWMA

The next Advisory Team meeting for the North and East Metro Groundwater Management Area will be this Friday, November 8th at the Vadnais Heights Commons (655 County Road F East, Vadnais Heights, MN 55127) from 9 am – 12 noon. The meeting is open to the public.

Topics to be presented:

  • A presentation from Freshwater on a groundwater recharge project
  • An update on the 3M settlement workgroups and activities
  • An update on the Transient Groundwater Flow Model
  • A White Bear Lake Court Case update

There will also be an opportunity for you to ask questions and provide comments.

Click here for more information about the North and East Metro GWMA.

The North and East Metro GWMA includes the Anoka County cities of Columbia Heights, Hilltop, Fridley, Spring Lake Park, Blaine, Lexington, Circle Pines, Lino Lakes, Centerville, and Columbus.

Mississippi Watershed Survey

Do you live in the Mississippi Watershed? The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) wants to hear from you! The MWMO is beginning the process of updating its 10-year Watershed Management Plan and they need your input.

You can help the MWMO to better understand your concerns, priorities, and goals for the health of the watershed by answering just a few short questions.

Click this link to learn more and to take the survey!

New 4-H Environmental Clubs!

Minnesota Greencorps member Alyssa Armstrong has initiated Environmental Clubs at 3 Anoka County locations: Rum River Library, Springbrook Nature Center, and Wargo Nature Center.

“E-Clubs focus on environmental education and provide hands-on learning experiences that will engage youth in environmental activities. This will both connect them to nature and give them tools to make meaningful impacts in their community and the world.”

Topics will be shaped by the club’s interest, but may include recycling and composting, hiking/snowshoeing, nature writing and photography.

The Rum River Library club meets monthly on the 3rd Wednesday from 6-7:30 pm and one goal of this particular club is to create a rain garden in partnership with the Anoka Conservation District.

Contact Alyssa Armstrong or the meeting location you are interested in attending for more information!

Alyssa Armstrong, armst533@umn.edu, 763-324-3495

Rum River Library, 763-324-1520, 4201 6th Ave, Anoka, MN 55303

Springbrook Nature Center, 763-572-3588, 100 85th Ave NW, Fridley, MN 55432

Wargo Nature Center, 763-324-3350, 7701 Main St, Lino Lakes, MN 55038

Lakeshore Stewardship Vital to Keeping Lakes Healthy

Submitted by Emily Johnson, Anoka Conservation District

Lakes are the pride and joy of Minnesotans, but the loss of their native aquatic and near shore lake vegetation as a result of increased lakeshore development is a grave threat. Both shoreline and aquatic plants are critical in maintaining a clean and healthy lake. Their loss results in severe negative consequences.

When aquatic vegetation is removed from a lake, it causes a chain reaction, resulting in murky water and loss of critical habitat for waterfowl and native fishes. Zooplankton rely on aquatic plants for food and safety. Without the refuge provided by these plants, they become easy prey for fish and their numbers dwindle. As a result, the algae normally eaten by zooplankton flourish. Algae get an extra boost from nutrients in loose sediment stirred up from the bottom of the lake. Since there’s no more roots to stabilize this sediment, it can easily be stirred up by waves and wind, creating cloudy water conditions. Native walleye and bass are driven out by undesirable fish such as carp that thrive in these dirty water conditions.

Native plant removal from lakeshores can have an equally negative impact. Native shoreline vegetation acts as a buffer, filtering polluted runoff and trapping excess nutrients before they enter the lake. Their roots hold the soil in place and prevent erosion and property loss. In addition to these water quality benefits, native plant buffers provide critical habitat for pollinators and other native wildlife, deter nuisance wildlife such as geese, and create an attractive privacy screen while leaving plenty of room for water access from a dock or beach.

Retaining or replacing natural shoreline and aquatic vegetation is critical to a lake’s health. Lakeshore owners have the power to make a difference on their shore through proper lakeshore restoration and stewardship. Doing this will improve lake water quality, which has a direct impact on property value, recreation opportunities, fisheries, and more.

To learn how to install your own lakeshore restoration project, visit: dnr.state.mn.us/lakescaping

UPDATE on Upcoming Well and Septic Class

Due to scheduling conflicts, the previously announced Well and Septic Class has been moved from Tuesday, March 10th to Thursday, March 12th. It has been updated on our original post and our calendar. Hope you can make it!

Referenced post: https://www.knowtheflow.us/2019/10/march-well-and-septic-maintenance-training/

March Well and Septic Maintenance Training

Save the date! Another opportunity for a well and septic maintenance training is coming up in March 2020!

Do you own your own well? How about a septic system? Do you wish you had a better idea of how to take care of them? Then you should plan on attending this upcoming class! Attendees with be provided a maintenance manual to keep. Refreshments and snacks will be provided.

In partnership with the City of Ramsey and the UMN Onsite Sewage Treatment Program, the Anoka Conservation District invites you to a free septic system and private well homeowner education class on Thursday, March 12th from 5 – 7 pm in the Ramsey City Hall’s Alexander Ramsey Room (7550 Sunwood Dr. NW, Ramsey, 55303). Space is limited, so reserve your seat early. Register online here!

Learn about:

  • Potential contaminants in your drinking water well
  • How and when to inspect and maintain your septic system
  • Impacts of faulty or damaged wells and septic systems

Please email Emily Johnson at Emily.Johnson@AnokaSWCD.org or call her at 763-434-2030 x17 with any questions.

Climate Change in Minnesota

Have you noticed the more frequent and intense rainfalls we’ve had in Anoka County this year? Well that can be attributed to climate change.

Climate change is a widespread, complex scientific problem and area of research. Jaron Cook, with the Anoka Conservation District, recently published an article on their blog about the specific impacts climate change is having and will continue to have on Minnesota’s water resources.

“Minnesota is one of the states most impacted by climate change. Official precipitation and temperature data has been collected in Minnesota from 1895 through today, showing some striking statistics about our changing climate:

13% increase in the size of the heaviest annual rainfall

Since 2000, rains of more than 6″ are four times more frequent than the previous 30 years prior

65% increase in the number of 3″ rains

Average temperatures in Minnesota have warmed by 3˚F since 1895

Overall, Minnesota’s climate is warmer and wetter. “

30-Year Average Annual Precipitation GIF via MN DNR.

30-Year Average Annual Temperature GIF via MN DNR.

So, what are some examples of the impact that this extremely wet climate can have? We can think back to 2012 up in Duluth, MN.

“We witnessed the impact of elevated precipitation in 2012 when the most damaging flood in Duluth’s recorded history began when heavy rains fell over already saturated ground on June 19th and 20th. At the Duluth National Weather Service (NWS) the rainfall total for those two days was 7.24 inches. A NWS volunteer observer in Two Harbors recorded the storm’s largest value of 10.45 inches in 24 hours.

The aftermath included millions of dollars of insurance losses to repair roads, bridges, homes and businesses. Many homes foundations were damaged extensively and the houses were razed. One state highway (MN 23) was closed for 3 years while it was repaired. The City of Duluth has had to adapt their stormwater infrastructure to withstand events that 30 years ago were considered 500-year events, but now happen regularly. In June 2018, just southeast of Duluth, the area received up to 10″ of rain and once again damaged Highway 23.”

Duluth is pretty far north – what about Anoka County?

“Here in Anoka County, we’ve witnessed a similar story in 2019, with all of the monitored lakes, rivers, and streams in the County reaching historic water level averages for the year. This increase in precipitation only solidifies the need for comprehensive watershed management to make sure that our infrastructure and waterways can handle the increased erosion and flow produced by this additional rain.”

What are people doing about this? Well, climate change is a global problem and people around the world are taking action! Check out this site from the United Nations. You can always express your concern to your local legislators as well.

The image included with this post is a flooded farm near Cologne, MN and belongs to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

More information: MPCA’s Climate Change in Minnesota; MN DNR Climate Data.

Check out Jaron’s original article here.

Upcoming Meeting Regarding Aquatic Invasive Species

The Anoka County Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) team will be leading a stakeholder meeting to discuss the AIS Prevention Aid Program. They will summarize this year’s activities and discuss what the program may look like moving forward. Please join them to share your constructive insights and comments.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, November 21st from 2-3:30 pm at the Bunker Hills Activities Center (Maple Room).

Agenda Items:

  1. Welcome and Summary of County AIS Program for 2019
  2. Review Draft for 2020 AIS Prevention Aid Guidelines
  3. Identify Gaps in the Guidelines and Explore Additional Needs and Ideas to Improve the AIS Prevention Aid Program
  4. Wrap-Up and Adjourn

Let Jessica Abarca (Anoka County Parks Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator) know if you have any questions about the meeting or the program. She can be reached at Jessica.Abarca@co.anoka.mn.us or 763-324-3333.

ICYMI: Update on Manganese Levels in Ramsey Municipal Water Supply

In case you missed it, the City of Ramsey shared an update on manganese levels in the municipal water supply in the September/October 2019 issue of the City of Ramsey’s Resident newsletter.

“The City of Ramsey Utilities Department has been collecting and testing 15 water samples each month for manganese concentrations. To date, all samples have fallen below the 100 parts per billion (ppb) set by the Minnesota Department of Health for bottle-fed infants 12 months or younger. This info may be viewed at www.cityoframsey.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=180. The City continues to utilize only City wells with the lowest concentration of manganese. Timely rains have helped lower daily demands for water and our odd/even sprinkling ban also contributes to lower demand. If you have any questions about manganese levels or our municipal water supply, please contact our Utilities Supervisor John Nelson 763-433-9861. “

The newsletter can be accessed here, with this article on page 11.

St. Cloud Phosphorous Recovery

Check out this cool video the City of St. Cloud recently produced to illustrate the process of recovering phosphorous from their wastewater!

“In 2017, the Clean Water Fund provided partial support to the City of St. Cloud through the Public Facilities Authority’s Point Source Implementation Grant (PSIG) program. The grant supported upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment plant to meet more stringent standards for discharge into the Mississippi River. These upgrades also included technology to remove phosphorus from the wastewater and create a fertilizer product.”

St. Cloud may seem far away, but the Mighty Mississippi connects us, and this project benefits the entire watershed! You can learn more here.

EPA Risk Assessment & Emergency Response Planning

Calling all community water systems – do you have questions about the ERP (Emergency Response Plan) required by the EPA?

There is a free training coming up on October 29th, 2019. The training will be held in Chicago, but you can attend via webinar. You must register by October 22nd, 2019.

” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be holding a training session Tuesday, October 29 to provide drinking water utilities with detailed information on America’s Water Infrastructure Act, Sections 2013 and 2018. The training will cover the new risk assessment and emergency response plan requirements. Participants will learn how to use the updated Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool to conduct the risk assessment and the new Emergency Response Plan Guidance and Template to develop and/or update an emergency response plan. They will also be informed on the final certification process as well as new emergency spill notification requirements and chemical inventory data availability. All water system managers and key personnel representing water systems with populations greater than 3,300 are strongly encouraged to register for this important training event. “

See this EPA flier for more information, as well has this template and guide for completing your assessment and plan.

Image belongs to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

No longer ‘out of sight, out of mind’: Making Groundwater Science Visible to Citizens and Clients

“No longer ‘out of sight, out of mind’: Making Groundwater Science Visible to Citizens and Clients” is the theme of the 2019 Minnesota Ground Water Association Fall Conference.

Description: “As the complexities of managing and legislating groundwater access, quality and use in Minnesota grow, the need to effectively communicate groundwater science has never been greater. Presentations at this meeting will showcase approaches to effective communication of groundwater science to the general public, as well as ways to effectively communicate research results with fellow professionals and clients – including ‘how do we communicate uncertainty?’ Effective management of groundwater also requires communication with legislators and legal professionals – we will hear about what legislators want to know, as well as the challenges of being an expert witness in groundwater science.”

Details can be found here.

Exhibitor opportunities available.

Image belongs to MGWA.

Fire Prevention Week 2019

This week (October 6th – 12th, 2019) is Fire Prevention Week – is your household prepared?

Did you know that you only have about 1-2 minutes to evacuate your home after the alarm sounds? The timeline in a fire moves much more quickly than you might think – click here for a descriptive explanation of the timeline.

For this reason it is crucial that your household is prepared for a possible fire. There are many resources available to help you create and practice a plan, including at the end of the previously mentioned timeline. The National Fire Prevention Association also has a worksheet you can use, along with a lighthearted video to help you out.

Safety.com has even more helpful tips and information to help keep you safe.

Image courtesy of Safety.com.

Lakeshore Restoration/Management Video

Are you a part of a lake association?

Are you interested in learning more about lakeshore restoration and management?

An animated, informative video (similar to the groundwater one recently published) on lakeshore restoration and management is in the works! The video will help explain the benefits of a restored shoreline, go over the various potential restoration techniques, and explain the next steps for those who want a restored lakeshore.

The Anoka County Water Resources Outreach Collaborative is developing the content for the video and is still looking for any lake associations that would like to collaborate with a financial contribution. This is a great way to celebrate 50 Years of Shoreland Management in Anoka County!

The Anoka Conservation District will also be matching any amount your lake association contributes! So, a $100 contribution becomes $200!

If you are at all interested – amount helps – or have any questions, please contact Emily Johnson with the Anoka Conservation Department by phone or email: emily.johnson@anokaswcd.org; 763-434-2030 ext. 17.

Saving Our Groundwater

Recently, the Anoka County Water Resources Collaborative (WROC) published an animated, informative video on groundwater called “Our Groundwater Connection”.

Staff from the Anoka Conservation District, MN Green Corps, and Anoka County Environmental Services were interviewed about the video by QCTV. We answered questions related to the video, as well as groundwater in general.

Check out the interview here!

The video is included in the interview segment, but the animated video by itself can be found here.

Please help us spread this video and join us in working to protect our precious water resources for generations to come!

Save the date! Well and Septic Maintenance Training This Spring

We are excited to announce that the Anoka County Water Resource Outreach Collaborative has scheduled another Well and Septic Maintenance Training!

The training is through the University of Minnesota’s Onsite Sewage Treatment Program and will be held in Ramsey, MN on March 10th, 2020.

A flyer and registration link will be developed in the near future, so stay tuned for updates!

Upcoming Smart Salting for Roads – Level 1 Class

Do any of the following describe you?

  • State, city, and county road maintenance staff
  • Contractors or private maintenance company
  • Staff or volunteer who manages snow and ice at a facility
  • Property manager
  • Distributors of anti-icing/de-icing products
  • An association who hires contractors

If so, this FREE upcoming smart salting training may be for you! Learn practical winter maintenance while saving money and time and minimizing impacts on the environment. Plus, there will be FREE coffee and breakfast!

The Smart Salting Level 1 Roads Certification Training on Wednesday, October 9th from 7:30 am to noon will help you learn how to integrate science with practical winter maintenance through presentations and class exercises. The practices you learn will help you save money, time, and the environment. You will be given a manual to keep as a reference.

What exactly will be covered in the class?

  • Application rates of materials (e.g. salt)
  • How to calibrate equipment
  • Weather conditions
  • Storing your materials
  • New maintenance methods
  • De-icing and anti-icing
  • Environmental effects
  • And more!

You can also GET CERTIFIED! An optional test is offered at the end of the workshop to earn a certification from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

Why is this training needed??

The salt applied to parking lots, sidewalks, and roads each year can have detrimental impacts to local waterways, plants, and wildlife. When snow and ice melts, salt runs into lakes and rivers, polluting water and harming aquatic life. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) estimates that 365,000 tons of road salt are used annually in the Twin Cities, and a single teaspoon of this salt can permanently pollute five gallons of water. At the same time, salt application is an important part of keeping Minnesotans safe in the winter, and correct application of de-icers and anti-icers can make the difference between a treacherous path and a safe walkway.

The class will be held at the Blaine Public Works Facility (1801 101st Ave NE, Blaine, MN 55449). Please register here.

Questions? Contact Emily Johnson (emily.johnson@anokaswcd.org, 763-434-2030 x17)

Funding for this workshop is provided by MPCA through a grant from US EPA, Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Fund. The course and materials were originally developed for the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization by Fortin Consulting, Inc. Content was created and reviewed through extensive collaboration with local experts.

Climate Week 2019

Climate week is September 23rd through 28th this year, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is one of many entities nationwide taking action this week! Check out this article from their news release earlier today.

Climate change and our water resources are intimately connected, so it is important for us to be aware of the impacts of climate change to protect these valuable resources. What will you do this week in recognition of climate week?

Upcoming Conversation on Drinking Water Protection with Environmental Initiative

Environmental Initiative, “a non-profit that helps develop partnerships and collaborative solutions to Minnesota’s environmental challenges” is hosting conversations around the state in regard to drinking water protection, in hopes of developing a statewide collaborative effort to protect drinking water at its source.

There will be a conversation for the NW metro on Thursday, September 26th from 5:30-8 pm at the Coon Rapids Civic Center (11155 Robinson Drive, Coon Rapids, MN 55433) in the Riverwind 2 room. Dinner will be provided from 5:30-6 pm, so please RSVP here or contact Erin Niehoff at eniehoff@en-in.org.

“The aim of the these conversations is to hear about community successes, challenges, and needs surrounding drinking water protection. The conversation will cover topics related to drinking water and land uses, such as landfills, storage tanks, septic systems, storm water runoff from road and land surfaces, agriculture, mining, forestry, industry and more… The conversation will also guide what the collaborative might look like, what it could accomplish, and who might be involved.” 

Learn more about Environmental Initiative here.

Image belongs to Environmental Initiative.

Upcoming Smart Salting Trainings

Whether we like it or not, winter is coming! There are several Smart Salting Certification Trainings coming up in September. For more information on any of these events, head over to the Events page and click on the training you want to learn more about or register for.

September 11th – Smart Salting for Parking Lots and Sidewalks Training

  • Host: Rice Creek Watershed District
  • Location: Blaine City Hall
  • Cost: Free

September 19th – Smart Salting for Parking Lots and Sidewalks Training

  • Host: Coon Creek Watershed District
  • Location: Springbrook Nature Center
  • Cost: $10 – includes a free pavement sensor!

September 26th – Smart Salting for Property Managers Training (NEW!)

  • Host: Rice Creek Watershed District
  • Location: St. Anthony Village City Hall
  • Cost: Free

September 27th – Smart Salting for Property Managers Training (NEW!)

  • Host: Anoka Conservation District and Coon Creek Watershed District
  • Location: SBM Fire Station 3 (11920 Ulysses St NE, Blaine)
  • Cost: $5
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