Northern Township
Special Well and Boring Construction Area
Well Management Program

A Well Advisory was issued on August 12, 1991, for an area in portions of Northern Township, Beltrami County.

The surficial aquifer within much of the well advisory area has been contaminated with leachate from Kummer Sanitary Landfill. The Kummer landfill is listed on the U.S Environmental Protection Agency National Priorities List (superfund). The Landfill began operation in 1971. In 1982 and 1983, contamination was found in residential wells to the southeast of the site. Studies conducted as part of the remedial investigation show that ground water flow is to the east, and that the contaminants are moving with the ground water. Most of the contaminants are volatile organic chemicals; vinyl chloride is the predominant compound of concern.

An alternative water supply (connection to a municipal distribution system) has been provided for residents of the area of contaminated ground water.

The special well and boring construction area is bounded on the north by Fern Street and the section line between sections 28 and 33. The southern boundary is defined by a line running due west from the intersection of 35th Street Northwest and Irvine Avenue Northwest to the North Country Regional Hospital, Irvine Avenue Northwest between 35th Street Northwest and Algoma Street Northwest, and a line running due east from the intersection of Irvine Avenue Northwest and Algoma Street Northwest to Lake Bemidji. The eastern boundary is defined by Lake Bemidji. The western boundary is defined by a north-south line set 500 feet to the west of Greenleaf Avenue Northwest. (Note: The southern boundary has been changed to reflect changes in street names. The original Well Advisory of August 12, 1991, described the southern boundary as: Rose Street and a line running due west from Rose Street to the North County Hospital, 34th street Northwest, and a line extending due east from 34th Street Northwest to Lake Bemidji.)

The geology of the site consists of a fine sand layer to approximately 20 feet, discontinuous sand and gravel lenses and silty or clay lenses at depths of approximately 30 to 45 feet. These lenses act locally as confining layers. To the east of the landfill the groundwater gradient is towards the land surface. Contaminants appear to be limited to the upper 60 feet. The water table is at approximately 18 to 20 feet. The general groundwater flow direction and contaminant plume movement is east toward lake Bemidji.

The requirements of the special well and boring construction area are:

  1. Within the special construction area, the deepening of existing wells or the construction of any new types of wells, is prohibited until further notice. This ban includes the installation of shallow sand-point wells. The shallow wells are of particular concern because of the majority of the known contamination exists within the shallow aquifers (less than 40 feet in depth).
  2. Wells other than domestic water wells, such as dewatering wells for construction purposes, will be considered on an individual basis and, if allowed, will require a variance from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
  3. It is recommended that the Minnesota Department of Health be contacted before the construction of any large capacity wells within one mile of the advisory area boundaries. These are wells with a drawdown capacity that could significantly alter the existing groundwater flow patterns. Examples of such wells are municipal, industrial, or dewatering wells. These wells usually require a groundwater appropriations permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
  4. Within the special well and boring construction area, any wells other than monitoring wells, with water found to currently contain, or have in the past, contained contamination levels exceeding the Minnesota Department of Health Recommended Allowable Limits (RALs) must be permanently sealed and abandoned by a licensed well contractor.
  5. Within the special well and boring construction area, all wells located west of Tamarack Avenue Northwest and west of the line running due north of Tamarack Avenue Northwest must be sealed unless it can be shown in each individual well that the levels of contamination do not exceed RALs.
  6. In the event of the sale of any property, or any other type of property title transfer within the entire special well and boring construction area, if there is an existing well on the property, the well water must be tested for contamination. If levels of contamination are found that exceed RALs, the well must be permanently sealed by a licensed well contractor.
  7. In the future, the restrictions and boundaries of this special well and boring construction area may change. This would be based on the extent of changes in contamination levels and flow directions of the contaminant plume. The indicator chemicals chosen for study in this area include tetrachloroethene, trichloroethene, trans-1,2-dichloroethene, vinyl chloride, and benzene. Tetrachloroethene and vinyl chloride have already been found at levels exceeding the Minnesota Department of Health RALs in several wells, and are the most commonly found contaminants.

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Contact the MDH Well Management Section
651-201-4600 or 800-383-9808

Minnesota Department of Health
Updated Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 01:29PM