Protecting groundwater quality in Anoka County through targeted well sealing
In Anoka County, 330,000 residents (94% of the population) depend on groundwater for drinking water, using about 12 billion gallons annually. This use is at risk from tens-of-thousands of old wells (residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial) that are unused and unsealed. These wells pose a significant health and safety hazard to Anoka County well water users by creating a direct, unmaintained conduit that can introduce contaminants (e.g. pesticides, nutrients, heavy metals, salts, hydrocarbons, and pathogens) into groundwater supplies.
Moreover, the highly permeable surficial sands of the Anoka Sand Plain are believed to be a significant source of groundwater recharge for several of the major aquifers that supply the water needs throughout the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. As such, protection of Metro Area groundwater supplies requires protection of Anoka County recharge areas.
We're helping to solve this problem by using this grant to offer cost-share funds of 50-75% to incentivize landowners to hire MN Department of Health licensed well sealing contractors to seal unused wells. Due to the large-scope of the problem, we're proposing to prioritize and target well sealing cost-share promotion. Unused wells within Drinking Water Supply Management Areas (DWSMAs), those that are deep and intersect multiple aquifers, and those that have the earliest original installation date will be targeted. DWSMAs represents about 75% of all drinking water use in Anoka county and according to a recent Anoka County Public Health and Environmental Services (ACPHES) study, at least 2,354 properties in Anoka County DWSMAs are known to have a high potential of having an unused/unsealed well.
Our goal is to seal up to 125 high priority unused wells, which we expect to abate about 5% of the problem within DWSMAs. To maximize the benefits secured from limited funds, we'll promote cost-share funds to landowners primarily through targeted mailings.
[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.
This targeted program will cost-share the sealing of up to 125 of 2,354 suspected high priority unused wells identified within DWSMAs, with higher priority going to larger diameter, deeper, and older wells.
LOCAL LEVERAGED FUNDS