Protecting Our Drinking Water
During an on-site visit by a representative of Minnesota Rural Water Association (MRWA) to complete a wellhead protection plan implementation evaluation with staff from Cromwell, in Carlton County, the discussion included additional potential contaminants in the Drinking Water Supply Management Area. The city’s water operator said he had recently noticed two metal casings in the field of a property that was platted a few years ago. A closer examination revealed that the casings were part of two old water wells that had been abandoned. One was 44 feet deep with a submersible pump in the well, the other 25 feet deep with no obstructions.
The city contacted the property owner and did not plan on using the wells, instead intending to leave them for the buyer of the property. Concerned that the wells could be a threat for contamination to the municipal drinking water supply, the city asked the owner if he would be willing to seal the wells. The owner said he did not want to incur the expense of sealing and wanted the wells to be available for future owners.
The city turned to MRWA, which informed staff of grant opportunities available from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the possibility of receiving a grant to cover the well-sealing cost. Informed of this, the property owner agreed to have the wells sealed, and the work was done in September of 2011.
Without the availability of grant money from the Clean Water Fund, it is likely these wells would still be abandoned and left as a possible contamination source to the city’s drinking water supply.
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