Wellhead Protection Plan

As a part of the City’s commitment to protect local groundwater and drinking water sources, we have implemented a Wellhead Protection Plan. The goal of the plan is to identify and manage potential sources of contamination in areas that supply water to the City’s wells. 

Abandoned and Unsealed Wells

Abandoned and unsealed wells are a potential source of groundwater contamination. Surface water runoff, contaminated water, and improperly disposed of waste may enter unused, unsealed wells and make its way into the groundwater and subsequently into your drinking water.

Landowners with unused, unsealed wells on their property should hire a state-licensed contractor to assess and properly seal their wells. The Minnesota Department of Health has a list of licensed well contractors. You can call them at (651) 201-4600 or visit their website.

Well Management

About 70% of Minnesotans use groundwater as their source of drinking water, and careful well management is important to the sustainability of this shared resource. The responsible use of groundwater will ensure its quantity and quality for future users and future generations. Well management includes all of the activities related to the construction, maintenance, and sealing of wells and borings.

What can you do to help protect our groundwater?

  • Keep your well elevated from the soil by at least one foot.
  • Slope surrounding soil away from the well.
  • Keep your well cap securely attached.
  • Keep the wellhead clear of snow, leaves, and other materials.
  • Check for cracks in the casing of your well.
  • Test your water regularly for coliform bacteria and nitrates.
  • Monitor changes in the color or smell of your water.
  • Do not use household chemicals or hazardous materials within 100 feet of your well.
  • Do not construct buildings or site potential contaminant sources within the Minnesota Department of Health’s required setbacks
  • MRWA Backyard Fact Sheet
  • MRWA Well Management Fact Sheet
  • MRWA Well Management Brochure
  • MRWA Well Maintenance Article

Wellhead Protection Planning

As a part of the City’s commitment to protect local groundwater and drinking water sources we have implemented a Wellhead Protection Plan. The wellhead is the structure over a well, in this case, a drinking water well. The goal of the plan is to identify and manage potential sources of contamination in areas that supply water to the City’s wells. The Wellhead Protection Plan defined a Wellhead Protection Area, identified land uses and possible sources of pollution within the area, and determined how vulnerable the area is to pollution. Implementation of the plan includes taking actions to prevent contamination throughout the Wellhead Protection Area.

What can you do to help?

  • You can attend wellhead protection meetings or serve on workgroups.
  • On your own property, you can identify, manage, and eliminate potential sources of groundwater contamination. You should also use and dispose of hazardous products properly.
  • You can conserve water, decreasing the demand on our drinking water sources and reducing runoff.
  • MRWA WHP Fact Sheet
  • MRWA WHP Brochure
  • MRWA WHP Community Benefits

Proper Disposal of Hazardous Waste

Household hazardous waste (HHW) includes products such as motor oil, oil-based paint, weed killer, and drain opener. These products must be labeled with “caution”, “warning”, “danger”, or “poison” to indicate that they are hazardous.

What can I do to prevent hazardous waste pollution?

Stormwater Management

Stormwater is the water that flows over the ground after rain and snowmelt events. It runs off buildings, streets, sidewalks and parking lots – anywhere it is prevented from naturally soaking into the ground. Stormwater can pick up debris, chemicals and dirt before it reaches its final destination.

If not managed properly, stormwater can contaminate streams, rivers, and lakes. It can destroy aquatic habitats and kill aquatic plants, fish, and animals. Polluted stormwater can also contaminate our drinking water supply.

What can you do to prevent contamination?

  • Limit pesticide and fertilizer use.
  • Dispose of insecticides, pesticides, paints, used motor oil, and other chemicals properly. Do not pour them, or any other household products, into storm drains or onto the ground.
  • Clean up litter and debris on sidewalks, driveways and parking lots – especially around storm drains. Do not put anything into storm drains.
  • Pick up and dispose of your pet’s waste.
  • Do not overwater your lawn.
  • Use a rain barrel or plant a rain garden.
  • Go to a car wash that recycles its water or wash your car on your lawn so that the water infiltrates into the ground.
  • MRWA Stormwater Fact Sheet
  • MRWA Stormwater Brochure
  • Instructional Video for Kids

Turf Management

Fertilizers and lawn care chemicals can impact groundwater and drinking water sources. Managing your lawn care routine can prevent them from becoming a threat to our waters.

What can you do to prevent contamination?

  • Test your soil and follow recommendations. Do not apply chemicals needlessly – saving you time and money.
  • Read all chemical labels – follow instructions and treatment rates.
  • Never apply more than 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn.
  • Fill fertilizer and chemicals spreaders away from streets and storm drains, in areas that can be properly cleaned up.
  • Apply fertilizer when grass is actively growing.
  • Do not apply fertilizer to frozen ground or before inclement weather.
  • MRWA Turf Management Fact Sheet