Dakota County and MDA install environmental well network

Dakota County Environmental Resources Department staff and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) are working together to install a long-term environmental well network in high-nitrate groundwater areas of the County. This effort aligns with the Groundwater Plan strategy to reduce agricultural chemical concentrations (strategy 1B1).  The long-term monitoring network supports implementation of the Agricultural Chemical Reduction Effort (ACRE) (tactics 1B1B and 1B1D).

MDA installed seven wells this summer within the Hastings Drinking Water Supply Management Area (DWSMA), as shown on the map below, and is projected to install additional wells this fall. A DWSMA is a defined area on the land surface that covers groundwater that could flow to a public water supply well within ten years. Protecting the DWSMA helps prevent contamination of public water supplies. Over the next couple of months, Dakota County will install eight to eleven wells in high-nitrate groundwater areas that are outside of the Hastings DWSMA. Additional wells may be installed this fall or in future years.

Once installed, the wells will be sampled three times per year (spring, summer, and fall) for nitrate, chloride and possibly other chemicals. Monitoring water quality in the shallow groundwater will enable Environmental Resources and MDA staff to observe changes over time, as farmers in the area change their practices to protect drinking water better. Area-wide changes in groundwater will first be detectable in the shallow groundwater.

Preliminary Map of Dakota County/MDA Environmental Well Network

Preliminary Map of Dakota County/MDA Environmental Well Network

Contact Jill Trescott, jill.trescott@co.dakota.mn.us, 952-891-7132