Anoka Conservation District is requesting an increase in funding from Anoka County to add a Groundwater Specialist to our staff in 2024. Groundwater is arguably the most critical natural resource in Anoka County as it is used for all household and commercial needs including consumption by 94% of those living, working and playing in Anoka County. Whether through private wells or municipal water supplies that draw from groundwater, Anoka County residents expect their faucets to run with clean plentiful water. Despite this, there isn't a single public employee in Anoka County that is dedicated full-time to being the 'go to' person for groundwater. We'd like to change that, and by doing so, make sure a vital resource that is out of sight, doesn't remain out of mind.
2022 brought groundwater into the spotlight in several ways, both locally and nationally
Drinking water contamination in Andover neighborhoods near the closed Waste Disposal Engineering Landfill hit the front page. This problem remains under investigation and unresolved for many residents.
Nearly 50 private wells in Blaine and Ham Lake went dry due to interference from municipal well pumping in the City of Blaine.
Multiple train derailments across the country exposed the vulnerability of drinking water to contamination by spills. Anoka County, with high water tables and sandy soils has an exceptionally vulnerable groundwater resource and so, more than other areas, Anoka County must be prepared to respond quickly to spills.
Bottled water companies continue to pursue permits to withdraw Minnesota groundwater and ship it out of state for sale.
Drought led to record low water levels throughout the county, which stretched surficial groundwater and baseflow very thin, compromising navigation, water supply, recreation, and habitat for fish and wildlife.
Private wells exceeding contaminant thresholds for common pollutants such as nitrates and bacteria is on the rise throughout the state.
Bringing a Groundwater Specialist on board would enable ACD to address several Keystone Endeavors from our 2021-2030 Comprehensive Natural Resources Stewardship Plan: for Groundwater, provide leadership and coordination; reduce use; increase recharge; and reduce contamination. They could also address recommendations from the Anoka County Water Resources Management Task Force listed in 2020 Anoka County Water Resources Report to: coordinate water management programs; continue county-wide education programs; protect source water; and protect drinking water.