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.”

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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.

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