News Feature | January 27, 2014

Minnesota City Vulnerable To Contamination

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


Well water in the Minnesota city of Woodbury may be under threat of contamination. 

"Various parts of the city wells – mostly clustered into the Tamarack well field area with others on the east side of Woodbury – were identified as highly vulnerable," according to the Woodbury Bulletin, which cited a new study. 

Potential sources of contaminants in Woodbury include "abandoned wells, poorly maintained septic systems, improper disposal of household hazardous waste, overuse of fertilizers, leaking storage tanks, unreported spills, illegal dumping and contaminated stormwater runoff," the news report said. 

The water supply in Woodbury is derived from "pumping groundwater from the Prairie Du Chien/Jordan aquifers. The city currently has 17 wells ranging from 405 to 540 feet deep. Well No. 18 is currently under construction near the intersection of Valley Creek Road and Settlers Ridge Parkway," according to the city. 

The city is working on a plan of action for its vulnerabilities, the report said.

Regulation is one possible remedy. "Environmental source specialist Jim Westerman said the city is looking at modifying setback ordinances to make sure potential sources of contamination are not placed within a certain number of feet from wells," the report said.

Woodbury already has a Wellhead Protection Plan in place, according to the city. It is designed to "protect the groundwater aquifers that supply the Woodbury municipal drinking water wells." 

A report on the Woodbury water supply in 2012 said: "We are proud to report that no contaminants were detected at levels that violated state and federal drinking water standards."

A typical Woodbury family consumes "approximately 31,000 gallons of water each quarter of the year, on average. Water use is lower than average during the winter months (approximately 4 MGD), and higher in the summer (approximately 16 MGD), primarily due to lawn watering. The maximum summer usage during 2012 was 19.3 million gallons," the city said. 

For more on tap water testing, check out Water Online's Drinking Water Analysis Solution Center

Image credit: "Minnesota River," © 2012 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Midwest Region, used under a Attribution 2.0 Generic license:

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