Well Sealing and Aquifer Characterization Below the Jordan in the Rochester Metropolitan Area
[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.
Primary outcome is sealing an unused, multi-aquifer well. Secondary outcome is deep aquifer characterization needed by local and state agencies to determine sustainable withdrawal, groundwater flow, and aquifer vulnerability assessments.
LOCAL LEVERAGED FUNDS
Protecting groundwater aquifers in Olmsted County is critical as the community continues to experience high growth. Well 220827, located at 3815 2nd ST NW in Rochester, is an inactive municipal well in Rochester. The well interconnects the Tunnel City Group, Wonewoc Sandstone, and Mt. Simon Sandstone aquifers that lie below the Jordan aquifer in the Rochester area. Olmsted County & Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) are committed to protecting, and sustainably utilizing, the aquifers in the greater Rochester area. Thus, RPU plans to seal well 220827 as part of this commitment. Currently, there are no municipal supply wells solely in the aquifers beneath the Jordan in Olmsted County. As a result, it is not known if municipal water supply from the deeper aquifers is feasible. RPU can leverage the sealing of well 220827 to install a multi-well nest to obtain data on the deep aquifers to assess flow, quantities, and vulnerabilities to contamination. RPU has discussed this approach to leveraging the sealing of well 220827 with the MDH and the MDNR, as well as Olmsted County. By constructing a well nest in well 220827 RPU would eliminate the interconnection between the deep aquifers and obtain the ability to collect data that will support sustainable future use of all the aquifers in the Rochester area. No Clean Water Funds will be used for monitoring expenses; this will be independently funded as an ongoing activity of the completed project.