Environmental Health Division

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Safe Drinking Water Week
~ May 3 - 9, 2015 ~

Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed May 3-9, 2015, as Safe Drinking Water Week, see:

The Governor also held a press conference on Wednesday, May 6th to announced the following:

Meeting Held May 2nd for Water Concern in New Brighton

City of New Brighton residents had an opportunity to learn more about plans for lowering the levels of the chemical 1,4-Dioxane in the drinking water supply for their city. Information was presented and questions answered at a Town Hall meeting on May 2, 2015, at the New Brighton Community Center. For more information, see the press release linked below.

Release of the Minnesota Climate and Health Profile
MDH Climate and Health program

Minnesota has become measurably warmer, particularly in the last few decades, and precipitation patterns have become more erratic, including heavier rainfall events. These changes in Minnesota’s climate will have serious consequences for human health and well-being. In response, the Minnesota Climate and Health Profile Report (Profile), was released on February 9, 2015 to help state and local community leaders and planners, policy makers, public health professionals and the public understand climate change health impacts so they can start to develop ways to adapt.

The specific hazards examined in the report were:
  • air pollution
  • extreme heat
  • floods and drought
  • changes to Minnesota’s ecosystems

The release of the Profile was promoted in a press release and received some media attention. Kristin Raab, Program Director, participated in a live MPR radio segment (the Daily Circuit) that was part of a week-long examination of climate change and Brenda Hoppe (Profile author) and Dan Symonik were interviewed by KARE 11. A story also appeared in the StarTribune.

In the next few months, MDH staff will be traveling to each region of Minnesota to share information and learn about adaptation efforts underway throughout the state. More information on the Profile and climate change in Minnesota can be found on the MDH website at:

Special Projects Presented at SETAC

Two Health Risk Assessment (HRA) staff, Ashley Suchomel and Jim Jacobus, recently presented special projects at the Society of Toxicology and Environmental Chemistry (SETAC) in Vancouver, Canada.   Ashley presented her work on prioritizing pharmaceuticals for human health-based evaluation and monitoring efforts.  Jim presented an overview on alpha-emitting radionuclides in groundwater and health risks. 

This was a great opportunity for HRA and MDH to share cutting-edge research and methods with others at the conference, and also obtain valuable feedback regarding future directions and similar work in progress at other agencies in North America.  The conference also contained valuable interactive sessions focusing on environmental fate of pharmaceuticals, human health risk assessment, and regulatory aspects of many contaminants of emerging concern.

Microbial Risk Assessment Project

Sampling has begun on a two year microbial risk assessment project sponsored by the MDH Health Risk Assessment Unit in partnership with the University of Minnesota. Sampling for a storm water collection system for irrigation is starting, and the University will also be studying a rainwater collection system for flushing toilets. The samples will be analyzed to characterize the microbial population in the water of the systems over time and under varying weather conditions, with a particular interest in human pathogen content. The goal is to provide a health risk context for water reuse in Minnesota.

National Conference of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators

Staff of the Section of Drinking Water Protection recently delivered presentations at the national conference of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators.  Lih-in Rezania gave a presentation titled, “A Second Look at Viruses in Minnesota Groundwater,” on the project investigating occurrence of viruses in groundwater supplies that may be used for drinking water.  Steve Robertson gave a presentation titled, “Source Water Protection Implementation Through Collaboration – Examples from Minnesota,” on the development of innovative partnerships and funding to help protect drinking water sources.  They were well received.

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Updated Monday, May 11, 2015 at 07:40AM