Volunteer Nitrate-Nitrogen (Nitrate)
Monitoring Network Study
Source Water Protection
The Southeast Minnesota Water Resources board received a federal Section 319 Demonstration, Education and Research grant through the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), and shortly afterward initiated the “Volunteer Nitrate Monitoring Network in Targeted Areas—A Pilot Project”, more commonly known as the Volunteer Nitrate Monitoring Network (VNMN) study. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Source Water Protection (SWP) program contributed technical assistance to the effort.
The project was designed to determine water quality in domestic drinking water wells across the nine-county study area, through the use of:
- Stratified-random selection of up to 675 domestic drinking water wells and their volunteer owners.
- Sample collection and shipment by well-owner volunteers.
- Samples analyzed by tabletop nitrate analysis device (Hach 4000 spectrophotometer).
- Initial four sampling rounds (February and August; 2008, 2009); extended to annual sampling (August) through 2012.
MDH prepared two reports (see links below) describing contributions and project results. The Southeast Minnesota Water Resources Board also produced a final project report. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is initiating a similarly structured study of drinking water quality in the Central Sands region.
- Characterizing Nitrates in Private Drinking Water Wells, MDA
- Southeast Minnesota Water Resources Board
Complete final report issued by the Southeast Minnesota Board of Water Resources:
MDH portion of the Volunteer Nitrate Monitoring Network Final Report above:
- MDH Contributions to Final Report: Southeast Minnesota Voluntary Nitrate Monitoring Network (PDF: 5.75MB/22 pages)
2012 MDH report interpreting methods and results for the first six rounds of the VNMN study sampling: