2020 Drinking Water Protection Initiative
According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's (MDAs) Final Township Testing Nitrate Report for Benton County, significant portions of Langola, Watab, Minden, and Maywood townships have high aquifer vulnerability ratings due to the geologic setting in Benton County. The purpose of this project is to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination in critical drinking water areas in Benton County through the process of sealing unused wells. Sealing unused wells is imperative to groundwater protection as an unsealed well can provide a direct connection for contaminants to reach groundwater resources. Priority areas for implementation were determined by the SWCD's 2013 Sensitive Areas Management Plan (SAMP) which is based on the county Geologic Atlas and established well recharge areas (wellhead protection areas WHPA) and Drinking Water Supply Management Areas (DWSMAs) in the cities of Foley, Rice, Sartell, and Sauk Rapids. Numerous wells have already been located within the priority areas including critical areas such as active feedlots and farm fields. A field inventory completed by Benton SWCD staff resulted in the identification of 150 possible well sealing opportunities. This project would assist the SWCD in eliminating numerous direct connections to drinking water sources in Benton County.
[Projects and Practices Drinking Water 2020] (b) $16,000,000 the first year and $16,000,000 the second year are for grants to local government units to protect and restore surface water and drinking water; to keep water on the land; to protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams; and to protect groundwater and drinking water, including feedlot water quality and subsurface sewage treatment system projects and stream bank, stream channel, shoreline restoration, and ravine stabilization projects. The projects must use practices demonstrated to be effective, be of long-lasting public benefit, include a match, and be consistent with total maximum daily load (TMDL) implementation plans, watershed restoration and protection strategies (WRAPS), or local water management plans or their equivalents. A portion of this money may be used to seek administrative efficiencies through shared resources by multiple local governmental units. Up to 20 percent of this appropriation is available for land-treatment projects and practices that benefit drinking water.
The outcome of this project is the reduced risk of groundwater contamination in the highly vulnerable areas of Benton County and within public water supply recharge areas. We anticipate sealing 30 wells.
LOCAL LEVERAGED FUNDS