The Clean Water Blog

Wellhead Protection for Our Drinking Water

Everyone has a right to safe and affordable drinking water. Clean water is one of Minnesota’s most precious resources, and it’s time that we act like it.

Nearly 75% of Minnesotans gets their drinking water from groundwater. With almost 10,000 public water sources coming together to supply drinking water, we need robust protections in place to ensure the health and safety of all of our communities. That’s where Wellhead Protection Plans come in. A Wellhead Protection Plan is a strategy designed to protect public drinking water supplies.

Wellhead protection plans were implemented in 1986 through the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to prevent contaminants from reaching drinking water sources, and managing the land surface around areas where activities might affect the quality of  drinking water sources. The plan assists protecting public supplies in the area through local teams which develop contingency plans to ensure safe and affordable drinking water. The wellhead protection area is calculated through geologic and hydraulic surveys of the area; such as physical aquifer characteristics which affect direction and rate of groundwater movement. Through the plan local teams work together to identify and minimize existing and potential sources of contamination once they are found.  

Clean Water Action wants to implement wellhead protection programs throughout Minnesota to ensure safe and affordable public drinking water. These programs benefit all of its residents. Water is a shared resources, which means that individuals, local groups, and communities can come together to participate in protecting public drinking water sources.

The Wellhead Protection Act is not new for the state. In 1993, St. Peter was the first city in to introduce and implement a wellhead protection plan to protect the city’s water against any further degradation. This was in partnership with  the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Shortly after, cities like Blaine, White Bear Lake, Brooklyn Center, and Eagan implemented wellhead protection plans as well, to name a few. While the list is impressive, there are still many residents who deserve protection for their communities’ water supplies.

Our goal is to have well head protection plans for the whole state to ensure everyone has access to safe and affordable drinking water whether they are in the city or in rural Minnesota. As Minnesota moves forward with more and more cities implementing wellhead plans, we need to ensure better coordination for the state and perhaps a single agencyin charge of the wellhead protection plans for all of Minnesota to ensure everyone’s drinking water is protected.

What can we do to achieve clean water throughout our community? As we know prevention of contaminants is the first step. Water is a shared resource that we all enjoy - and it’s time that we move towards clean water initiatives to prevent the threats Minnesota’s groundwater. You can find more information on how to get involved through Clean Water Action, and more problems, and solutions that protect clean water! If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact us at www.cleanwateraction.org/