You are on page 1of 4








Volume 13, Winter 2005

More Ideas for Implementing Wellhead Protection
The previous issue of the Protector introduced a variety of strategies that could be used to implement wellhead protection. This issue continues that theme with additional implementation ideas. If you have any questions about these examples, please contact your Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) source water protection planner, the contact person listed in the article, or the MDH Source Water Protection Unit at 651/215-0800. To read the previous edition of the Protector go to

Cleaning Up Around Your Wells
Housekeeping in the Inner Wellhead Management Zone
One of the most straightforward and easiest ways to implement wellhead protection is for water systems to take a look at the area immediately surrounding their well(s) and eliminate potential sources of contamination. This is often an appropriate first step, particularly for community water systems – which need to have ownership, easement, or control of the area within 50 feet of their well(s). This 50-foot radius is also considered an “exclusion zone” where no potential contaminant sources should be present (except items directly related to the operation and maintenance of the well itself). Additionally, Minnesota’s Wellhead Protection Rule requires that all public water systems manage potential contaminant sources in the area within 200 feet of their well(s) called the Inner Wellhead Management Zone (IWMZ). This requirement applies even if the water system has not formally entered the wellhead protection planning process. So, not only does it make good sense to address potential contamination in the area around your well(s), it is also required. Examples of protective steps include: moving chemical storage, removing unused chemicals or equipment, providing containment for potential spills of stored chemicals, and preventing chemical mixing or preparation near the well.

Also, be on the lookout for any businesses or other facilities within 200 feet of the well that may contribute to contamination, and provide them with educational information about managing their processes to reduce the chance of contamination. In addition to the immediate cleanup steps you take, also consider some long-term strategies to protect your wells by managing the IWMZ, including: <Working with local planning officials to be aware of potential contaminant sources (such as floor drains not connected to sewer) that may be introduced as part of nearby construction. <Moving crop production away from wellheads to reduce the chance of contamination from nitrate, fertilizers, and pesticides. <Consider working with local landowners to enroll cropland near the well(s) into the conservation reserve program (CRP), particularly if your well is located in a vulnerable aquifer. Note that the federal government offers “continuous signup” for CRP for land within 2000 feet of a public water supply well. <Consider restricting access to the immediate area around the well, as appropriate.

Early in its wellhead protection efforts, the City of Medford decided to address potential contaminant sources in the area close to its public water supply well. As a result, a road salt storage pile was moved away from the well to prevent potential contamination. Efforts were also made to cleanup, move, or provide secondary containment for chemicals stored at the nearby city shop. Emergency planning steps were taken because a rail line runs near the well. Also, security around the wells was increased.
Implementation -Continued on Page 2

Inside:  More Wellhead Protection Strategies (Page 2)  Assistance from MRWA (Page 3)  CWI Online (Page 4)

in cooperation with Steele County. The City of Northfield took a proactive approach to potential contaminant sources. Also. contact the Minnesota Duty Officer immediately at 800/422-0798. one of the city’s former wells no longer supplies drinking water . the City of St. spills. two old. Two more are scheduled to be sealed soon. The city’s wellhead protection team and local volunteers helped out with these events. and chemical plumes in groundwater. this happens as MDH works with the water system in the process of drafting its wellhead protection plan. The city. the MPCA conducted an investigation to identify the source and the location of the contamination plume. As a result. For more information. which requested that MDH conduct a vulnerability assessment to determine the potential effect on the city’s water supply. this process spurred efforts to look for other potential contamination sources. a member of the wellhead protection team with expertise in hazardous materials visited the facilities in a consultative role and offered recommendations for improved handling of hazardous materials.including service stations with fuel tanks . Spills. unused wells were identified and sealed by the city. Once these were identified. To find out more. < Responding to a potential source of contamination. and plumes include: <Responding to an existing contamination source that has been determined to impact a public water system.but was taken over by MPCA and now pumps on a round-the-clock basis to help control the migration of the plume. This protects other nearby city wells by preventing contamination from The Protector. please keep in mind that if you see a spill happen.Continued from Page 1 In addition to these specific steps at the wellhead. The City of Lakefield identified fuel contamination of soil related to an old power plant in town. In addition. <Pro-actively cataloguing potential sources of contamination and encouraging best management practices. Peter also targeted its IWMZ for cleanup and improved maintenance. and Plumes A number of Minnesota communities have addressed identified or potential contamination from fuel tanks. reaching these wells. The MDH assessment found that the city wells were not vulnerable (due to their construction and the nature of the aquifer they use) and therefore the wells should not be impacted by the contamination. contact Jim Koep of Lakefield at 507/662-5457. In some cases. and determining if it is a threat. Dealing with Leaking Fuel Storage Tanks. The city worked with MPCA. unsealed wells in its wellhead protection area. As result. The city also targeted sealing of unused. along with the relocation of a compost site away from the well field. The types of actions a water system may take regarding leaking storage tanks. but its impact on the city water supply wells was unknown.Implementation .in and near the wellhead protection area. the city instituted an annual review of the IWMZ with a focus on maintenance and operation to reduce potential risks for contamination. In addition. contact Pete Moulton at 507/934-0670. For more information on Medford’s efforts. contact Paynesville’s Ron Mergen at 320/243-3714. and MPCA then worked together to identify locations for two new wells which would not be impacted by the plume. The task of completing this annual review is rotated among Public Works staff to spread knowledge among staff and to bring a “fresh set of eyes” to the situation each year. For more information. MDH. Contact George Kinney of Northfield’s Wellhead Protection Team at 952/891-7541 for more information. Winter 2005 Page 2 . The MPCA was able to help bear some of the cost for the construction of these new wells. Following initial cleanup efforts. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) aid water systems in identifying and characterizing these types of potential contaminant sources. Examples of each of these types of action follow: Examples The City of Paynesville had to deal with leaking fuel tanks that impacted the city’s water supply wells. the city also supported. Early efforts involved general improvement in the maintenance and operation of city facilities in this area. spills. contact Marie Sexton at 507/444-2460 When it initiated its wellhead protection efforts. household hazardous waste collection events. a number of improvements were made at these facilities and the general protection of the city’s water supply improved. The city’s wellhead protection team identified potential hazardous waste generators . Initially.

and unused. It has become clear. contact Robyn at 218/821-5028 (robynmrwa@hotmail. rural on-site sewage treatment systems.012 Managing Inner Wellhead Management Zone (200-foot radius) All All All Working on “Part 1" of Wellhead Protection Plan 125 2 Not Required Working on “Part 2" of Wellhead Protection Plan 75 13 Not Required Have Completed and Are Implementing Wellhead Protection Plan 88 9 Not Required Community Nontransient Noncommunity Transient Noncommunity The Protector. MRWA has worked closely with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) over the past several years to help water systems in preparing wellhead protection plans. that in order for approved plans to become reality. agricultural nutrient management practices. the United States Department of contact Dave (218/820-0595/daven@brainerd. Robyn Hoerr Progress in Minnesota Wellhead Protection Efforts (as of January 2005) Public Water System Type Overall Number of Systems (using wells) 930 559 6. If you'd like Aaron's help in developing your wellhead protection plan or working on other source water protection issues.. Sauk River Watershed particularly in southeastern Minnesota and the metro and local Dave Neiman government units to help ensure that plans are implemented. the Minnesota Rural Water Association (MRWA) has added two new staff positions to aid in plan implementation. Winter 2005 Page 3 . and cooperation between government units. In response to this need. They will be available to work with groups of water systems. a new technical assistance need has arisen – aid in implementing wellhead protection plans.. Gluek Brewing Company. Aaron fills the position previously held by both Dave and Mark and brings with him a lot of local government Aaron Meyer experience. Cold Spring Alano. If you are interested in finding out more about this innovative technical assistance program. provided Mark Wetlauffer that a sufficient number of other local agencies. This group will be developing implementation strategies to focus needed attention on urban stormwater and lawn management. however. involving the City of Cold Spring. networking. As water systems complete the planning or Mark (320/815-4991/markw@brainerd. Cold Spring Granite.000 customers. In order to help meet this need. boards or units of government are involved. and to aid in addressing issues such as funding. and Minnesota Department of or visit MRWA’s web site at www. Farm Service Agency and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have funded these two positions at MRWA.particularly those serving a population of less than 10. contact him at 320/808-7293 (ameyer@astound. the individuals filling them are MRWA veterans with lots of experience in wellhead protection planning . Although the positions are new. They are also able to assist single water suppliers with implementation of wellhead protection plans. feedlots. Gold 'n Plump. For assistance.And Still Continues Assistance in Plan Development Aaron Meyer has joined MRWA as a groundwater specialist to assist water systems in developing wellhead protection plans . . Robyn Hoerr of MRWA also continues her work in the development and implementation of wellhead protection plans. unsealed wells. Stearns County.Minnesota Rural Water Association to Assist in Wellhead Protection Plan Implementation Nearly 100 public water systems in Minnesota have completed wellhead protection plans and over 200 more have entered the wellhead protection program. Among the first projects Dave and Mark are addressing is the Cold Spring Area Wellhead Protection effort. some systems may need assistance in determining how to get protection measures working on the ground. agencies.Dave Neiman and Mark Wetlauffer.

171 St. and Dave Hokanson To obtain this newsletter in another format. CWI Online can be of use to water system personnel and wellhead protection teams in identifying private wells located near public water supply wells or in the Drinking Water Supply Management Area (DWSMA) of public water supply Sheila Grow. Paul. call: Unit Receptionist (651) 2150800. P. CWI Online. Dave Neiman.state. Minnesota 55164-0975 Presort Standard U. For more information about CWI Online. The Protector is the Newsletter of the Source Water Protection Unit. CWI Online provides mapping of wells onto aerial Winter 2005 Page 4 .state. Box 64975 has recently made available to the public an online version of the County Well Index (CWI) database. in cooperation with the Minnesota Geological Survey. Division TDD (651) 215-0707. including the location. This application. Paul. The Protector is also available at: http://www. Postage PAID Permit No. depth. Please note that. MN Web Resources for Wellhead Protection County Well Index (CWI) Online Now Available The Minnesota Department of Health. It also contains construction and geological information from the well record (well log) for many wells. Additionally. Art Drinking Water Protection Section. and other MDH publications. due to security concerns. at the web site listed above. contact Brian Johnson at 651/215-0802.html CWI Online contains information from the CWI database. and static water level for wells drilled in The (You may subscribe electronically to The Protector. or for Greater Minnesota through the Minnesota Relay Service 1-800-627-3529 (ask for [651] 215-0800). public water supply wells are not included in the CWI Online application. can be accessed on the web at the following address: http://www. Trudi Witkowski. Minnesota Department of Health The Protector staff: Bruce Olsen.Minnesota Department of Health Division of Environmental Health Source Water Protection Unit 121 East Seventh Place. allowing users to visually identify well locations.