Characterizing Nitrate Levels in Private Drinking Water Wells-Central Sands Region

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$14,338
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$14,337
2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$11,500
2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$11,500
2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$76,724
2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$33,852
2011 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$114,991
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Recipient
Wadena Soil and Water Conservation District, Darren Newville, District Manager, darren.newville@mn.nacdnet.net (218) 631-3195 ext. 3
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
Status
Ongoing
Start Date
December 2010
End Date
June 2018
Activity Type
Education/Outreach/Engagement
Monitoring
Counties Affected
Becker
Benton
Cass
Crow Wing
Douglas
Hubbard
Kandiyohi
Morrison
Otter Tail
Pope
Sherburne
Stearns
Todd
Wadena
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017, Chapter 91, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2017 (b) $2,085,000 the first year and $2,086,000 the second year are for monitoring and evaluating trends in the concentration of nitrate in groundwater in areas vulnerable to groundwater degradation; promoting, developing, and evaluating regional and crop-specific nutrient best management practices; assessing best management practice adoption; education and technical support from University of Minnesota Extension; grants to support agricultural demonstration and implementation activities; and other actions to protect groundwater from degradation from nitrate. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2022.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2017, Chapter 91, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2017: (b) $2,085,000 the first year and $2,086,000 the second year are for monitoring and evaluating trends in the concentration of nitrate in groundwater in areas vulnerable to groundwater degradation; promoting, developing, and evaluating regional and crop-specific nutrient best management practices; assessing best management practice adoption; education and technical support from University of Minnesota Extension; grants to support agricultural demonstration and implementation activities; and other actions to protect groundwater from degradation from nitrate. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2022.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015, First Special Session, Chapter 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2015: (b) $2,586,000 the first year and $2,585,000 the second year are for monitoring and evaluating trends in the concentration of nitrate in groundwater in areas vulnerable to groundwater degradation; monitoring for pesticides when nitrate is detected; promoting, developing, and evaluating regional and crop-specific nutrient best management practices; assessing best management practice adoption; education and technical support from University of Minnesota Extension; and other actions to protect groundwater from degradation from nitrate. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018.

2017 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$14,338
Direct expenses
$14,338
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Groundwater and Drinking Water Protection"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

•Number of wells monitored through the Central Sands monitoring network•Number of counties participating in the Central Sands monitoring network•Reduction in nitrate concentrations in private wells within the Central Sands networkMinnesota state agencies are working together to establish and report outcome-based performance measures that monitor the progress and effectiveness of Clean Water Fund activities. This inter-agency group completed a Clean Water Performance Report in 2012, 2014 and 2016. At the heart of this report is a suite of quantifiable performance measures. The Central Sands private well monitoring network will provide data for performance measure EDWOM3: Changes over time in pesticides, nitrates and other key water quality parameters in groundwater, PLM6: Number of local government partners participating in Clean Water funded nitrate monitoring and reduction activities and FM4: Total dollars awarded in grants and contracts to non-state agency partners.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2015, First Special Session, Chapter 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2015: (b) $2,586,000 the first year and $2,585,000 the second year are for monitoring and evaluating trends in the concentration of nitrate in groundwater in areas vulnerable to groundwater degradation; monitoring for pesticides when nitrate is detected; promoting, developing, and evaluating regional and crop-specific nutrient best management practices; assessing best management practice adoption; education and technical support from University of Minnesota Extension; and other actions to protect groundwater from degradation from nitrate. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2018.

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$14,337
Direct expenses
$14,337
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Groundwater and Drinking Water Protection"
Measurable Outcome(s)

Information will be available soon.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013, Chapter 137, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2013: (b) $2,500,000 the first year and $2,500,000 the second year are to increase monitoring and evaluate trends in the concentration of nitrates in groundwater in areas vulnerable to groundwater degradation, including a substantial increase of monitoring of private wells in cooperation with the commissioner of health, monitoring for pesticides when nitrates are detected, and promoting and evaluating regional and crop-specific nutrient best management practices to protect groundwater from degradation.

2015 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$11,500
Direct expenses
$11,500
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Groundwater and Drinking Water Protection"
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

see fiscal year 2016 

Measurable Outcome(s)

• Number of wells monitored through the Central Sands network (2,978)• Total dollars or percent of funding awarded in contracts to local government partners (all funds reported on this page are passed through to JPAs to local parters)In 2015:• A total of 402 well water samples were returned and analyzed• 89% of the wells sampled had nitrate concentrations less than 3 mg/L, 7% of the wells ranged from 3-10 mg/L and 4% of wells were greater than the drinking water standard of 10mg/L. • Sherburne County had the highest percentage of wells (20 percent) with nitrate-nitrogen concentrations over 10 mg/L. 

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2013, Chapter 137, Article 2, Section 3
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2013: (b) $2,500,000 the first year and $2,500,000 the second year are to increase monitoring and evaluate trends in the concentration of nitrates in groundwater in areas vulnerable to groundwater degradation, including a substantial increase of monitoring of private wells in cooperation with the commissioner of health, monitoring for pesticides when nitrates are detected, and promoting and evaluating regional and crop-specific nutrient best management practices to protect groundwater from degradation.

2014 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$11,500
Direct expenses
$11,500
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Groundwater and Drinking Water Protection"
Measurable Outcome(s)

Refer to fiscal year 2015

Recipient Board Members
Wadena SWCD Board of Supervisors:

Tom Schulz - Chairperson, Ken Berg - Vice Chairperson, Marvin Runyan - Public Relations, Melvin Kinnunen - Treasurer, Nancy Benson - Secretary

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, Chapter 6, Article 2, Sec.3
Appropriation Language

M.L.2011: (b) $850,000 the first year and $850,000 the second year are to increase monitoring and evaluate trends in the concentration of nitrate in groundwater in high-risk areas and regionally and to promote and evaluate regional and crop-specific nutrient best management practices. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2016.

2013 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$76,724
Direct expenses
$76,724
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Groundwater and Drinking Water Protection"
Measurable Outcome(s)

In 2013:• A total of 487 well water samples were returned and analyzed• 89% of the wells sampled had nitrate concentrations less than 3 mg/L, 8% of the wells ranged from 3-10 mg/L and 3% of wells were greater than the drinking water standard of 10mg/L. • Sherburne County had the highest percentage of wells (17 percent) with nitrate-nitrogen concentrations over 10 mg/L.

Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2011, Chapter 6, Article 2, Sec. 3
Appropriation Language

M.L.2011: (b) $850,000 the first year and $850,000 the second year are to increase monitoring and evaluate trends in the concentration of nitrate in groundwater in high-risk areas and regionally and to promote and evaluate regional and crop-specific nutrient best management practices. This appropriation is available until June 30, 2016.

2012 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$33,852
Direct expenses
$33,852
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Groundwater and Drinking Water Protection"
Measurable Outcome(s)

In 2012:A total of 510 well water samples were returned and analyzed89% of the wells sampled had nitrate concentrations less than 3 mg/L, 8% of the wells ranged from 3-10 mg/L and 3% of wells were greater than the  drinking water standard of 10mg/L.Sherburne County had the highest percentage of wells (13 percent) with nitrate-nitrogen concentrations over 10 mg/L. Morrison County had approximately 11 percent of wells over 10 mg/L.

Recipient Board Members
Wadena SWCD Board of Supervisors:

Marvin Runyan - Chairman, Tom Schulz - Vice Chairman, Melvin Kinnunen - Public Relations & Information, Nancy Benson - Treasurer, Ken Berg - Secretary
Legal Citation / Subdivision
M.L. 2009, Chapter 172, Article 2, Sec. 2
Appropriation Language

M.L. 2009: (c) $375,000 the first year and $750,000 the second year are to increase groundwater and drinking water protection from agricultural chemicals, primarily nutrients.

2011 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
$114,991
Direct expenses
$114,991
Administration costs
$0
Number of full time equivalents funded
see "Statewide Groundwater and Drinking Water Protection"
Measurable Outcome(s)

In 2011:A total of 1,555 well owners returned their well survey and water samples for analysis.Over 88.6% of the wells sampled had nitrate concentrations less than 3 mg/L, 6.8% of the wells ranged from 3-10 mg/L of nitrate and 4.6% of wells were greater than the drinking water standard of 10 mg/L.Nitrate concentrations varied widely over short distances and there was significant local variability in nitrate concentrations.555 private well owners agreed to be part of the long-term network.

Recipient Board Members
Wadena SWCD Board of Supervisors

Marvin Runyan - Chairman, Tom Schulz - Vice Chairman, Melvin Kinnunen - Public Relations & Information,
Nancy Benson - Treasurer, Ken Berg - Secretary
Project Overview

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has signed a Joint Powers Agreement with Wadena County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). Wadena County SWCD is partnering with 13 counties that make up the "Central Sands Outwash".Project Goals:Phase 1: The short-term goal is to determine current nitrate-nitrogen concentrations in private wells throughout the Central Sands region and determine areas of concern.Phase 2: The long-term goal is to determine trends; whether nitrate concentrations are increasing, decreasing or staying the same.All counties in the Central Sands region have been invited to participate in a county-wide private well network. When a well owner agreed to participate, they filled out a survey about their well (construction type, well depth, age, etc) and returned it. Each participant received a sample kit from a certified lab with instructions on how to take the sample and where to send it for analysis.A monitoring network will provide a better understanding of nitrate trends in the region and be used to educate private well owners about their drinking water. This project will help answer the question: Are nitrate concentrations in private drinking water wells increasing, decreasing or staying the same?To learn more about this project and other drinking water projects visit Minnesota Department of Agriculture's website.   .

About the Issue

Nitrate is a water soluble molecule that is made up of nitrogen and oxygen. It is naturally occurring in the environment; however at elevated levels it can have negative effects on human health. Nitrate is a common contaminant in Minnesota's groundwater, and in some areas of the state a significant number of private wells have high nitrate-nitrogen levels.Although nitrate occurs naturally, it can also originate from man-made sources such as fertilizer, animal waste and septic systems.

Project Details

The monitoring network is distributed across 14 counties. Selection of individual wells was random, and results from this program can be used to make conclusions about nitrate trends in drinking water across the region.A total of 1555 well owners filled out a survey and sent in a sample to be analyzed for nitrate. The development of a long-term monitoring network is in progress; 502, 487, 434, and 402 of the original 1555 well owners participated in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 respectively. 

Project Manager
First Name
Kimberly
Last Name
Kaiser
Organization Name
Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Street Address
625 Robert Street North
City
St. Paul
State
MN
Zip Code
55155
Phone
(651) 201-6280
Email
Kimberly.Kaiser@state.mn.us