Healthy Safe Swimming Week 2016

Make a healthy splash to share the fun, not the germs

May 23–29, 2016, the week before Memorial Day, marks the start of outdoor swimming and the annual Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. Swimming is one of the most popular sports activities in the United States. Pools, waterparks, hot tubs/spas, splash pads, and water playgrounds are great places to have fun, be active, or just relax. Have fun while you swim but know how to stay healthy and safe while enjoying the water!

The best way to prevent recreational water illnesses is to keep germs out of the water in the first place. Swimmers can protect themselves and others by following these six tips:

  • Don’t swallow pool or lake water.
  • Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet or changing diapers.
  • Don’t swim when you have diarrhea.
  • Take children on bathroom breaks or change diapers often.
  • Change diapers in a bathroom, not at poolside or beachside.

We are working closely with our licensed public pool operators to ensure the health and safety of swimmers,” said Angela Dabu, Environmental Health Specialist with Anoka County Environmental Services. “Swimmers can do their part by following the six tips to keep the water healthy on those hot and busy days at the pool.”

To report a suspected waterborne illness, call the Minnesota Department of Health’s Foodborne and Waterborne Illness Hotline at 1-877-FOODILL. Contact Anoka County Environmental Health – Licensed Pools & Spas (763-422-7063) to report a concern with a County licensed public pool.

Anoka County Municipal Wellhead Protection Program

Drinking water quality reports are available

Annual Water Report. Each year, community water suppliers prepare a report on the results of water quality tests of their water system in the previous year. The 2015 water quality reports summarize testing results for Jan 1 to December 31. The reports describe where the drinking water comes from and what’s in it. Groundwater, from wells, is the source of drinking water for community water suppliers in Anoka County (except Columbia Heights and Hilltop).

Municipal Wellhead Protection.  Community water suppliers are implementing wellhead protection programs to manage potential sources of soils and groundwater pollution near their wells.  Residents and businesses within a Drinking Water Supply Management Area (DWSMA) – near municipal wells – are in a unique position to protect the source of the community’s drinking water – the groundwater below. Find out if you are in a DWSMA by going to the Anoka County Wellhead Protection DWSMA map application.

Sealing Unused (Abandoned) Wells. Municipal wells are typically deep wells that use the natural protection of geologic layers to prevent pollution from reaching their community well. If old unused wells are near the municipal wells – pollution may pass through the natural protective layers down an unsealed well – contaminating the drinking water for the community. To learn more contact your municipal water utility department and view the Sealing Your Unused Well video (MDH, YouTube; 4:36)

Do you have a home well? Anoka County Environmental Services recommends that you test the safety of your drinking water annually. Go to the Well Water Testing webpage for more information.

Customers that want a copy of their water system’s annual report (normally published before July) may check the utility website or request a copy from their water supplier:

Clean.Drain.Dispose.Dry for our lakes and a vibrant outdoor economy

Protect our waters by following aquatic invasive species (AIS) standards

AIS media event, Mississippi, Hastings Access

CLEAN all visible aquatic plants, zebra mussels, and other prohibited invasive species from watercraft, trailers, and water-related equipment before leaving any water access or shoreland.

DRAIN water-related equipment (boat, ballast tanks, portable bait containers, motor) and drain bilge, live-well and bait-well by removing drain plugs before leaving a water access or shoreline property. Keep drain plugs out and water-draining devices open while transporting watercraft. Q&A – Boat draining, drain plugs, and bait container draining

DISPOSE of unwanted bait, including minnows, leeches, and worms, in the trash. It is illegal to release bait into a waterbody or release aquatic animals from one waterbody to another. If you want to keep your bait, you must refill the bait container with bottled or tap water.

Before moving to another waterbody: Spray, Rinse, Dry. Some invasive species are small and difficult to see. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody, especially after leaving zebra mussel and spiny waterflea infested waters: Spray with high-pressure water, Rinse with very hot water, Dry for at least 5 days.

Anoka County’s AIS Coordinator and a crew of watercraft inspectors will work the waterways seven days a week through Labor Day. View the video (YouTube, Anoka County; 2:00) of watercraft inspectors and boaters working together to keep invasive species out of Anoka County lakes and rivers.


Andover Water Pledge Medal

Andover won the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation

(UPDATE May 12, 2016) Andover, MN has won the Wyland Foundation’s National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation award (Population Category 30,000-99,999).

You and your family can still make a pledge that lasts all year long! Make a pledge from now until March 31, 2017 and you’ll be entered to win a piece of art picked out by marine life artist and conservationist Wyland.

Andover Mayor Trude (YouTube video 1:10) led the pledge to show that Andover can meet the challenge!

Andover Water Pledge

Sprinkler Head

Community watering restrictions are going into effect

As Anoka County communities grow – so does our demand for water. The trick is to use water wisely so that our combined water demand doesn’t exceed our local water resources supply. During the summer months water use increases for lawn sprinkling. A homeowners water use in July can be six (6) times greater than January.

Lawn Watering Tips (from Don Taylor, University of Minnesota Extension Service Horticulturist): (1) Consider whether lawn irrigation is necessary in your situation; (2) Lawn irrigation would normally be minimal in spring until June; (3) Add 1 to 1-1/2 inches of water per week (minus any rainfall) during the summer months; (4) Keep the intervals between irrigations as long as possible; and (5) Water in early morning hours for greatest efficiency.

Residents and businesses throughout Anoka County should take note of city watering restrictions:

Contact your water utility for more information about water conservation, leak detection and water fixtures that conserve water.

Do you know where your drinking water comes from?

Well Water Wise (3W) week (May 2-6, 2016) test your home/cabin well

The Anoka County Community Health and Environmental Services (CHES) Department, in cooperation with 15 municipalities and county agencies, is sponsoring the 17th annual “Well Water Wise” (3W) week promotion May 2-6, 2016 to encourage residents to check the safety of their private well water. For information on private well testing go to the Anoka County Environmental Services Well Water Testing webpage or call 763-422-7063.

County residents may pick up a well water test kit at participating city and township offices (listed below) or in the Environmental Services Unit, Suite 600 of the Anoka County Government Center, 2100 3rd Avenue in Anoka. Water samples can be submitted to the county’s Environmental Services Unit for analysis every Monday from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to noon. During 3W week, samples can be submitted Monday through Thursday (8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.) and Friday (before noon). The well water testing kit includes details about water collection and submission. A laboratory fee of $30.00 will be charged for coliform bacteria and nitrate-nitrogen analysis.

Unlike public water utilities, private well water is not treated with chlorine to prevent bacteria growth. Simply looking at the appearance of drinking water is not a reliable indicator of whether it is safe to drink. An annual coliform bacteria test is a good way to ensure that your drinking water continues to be free of bacteria.

Nitrate-nitrogen occurs naturally in groundwater and wells at concentrations below one milligram per liter (mg/L). Nitrogen can seep into private wells from a variety of sources including septic systems, nitrogen fertilizers, animal feedlots, and landfills. The Minnesota Department of Health has established a Health Risk Limit (HRL) for nitrate-nitrogen at 10 mg/L. Levels above that point may pose an immediate risk to infants and pregnant women.

The testing of private wells used for drinking water is the responsibility of individual owners. There are an estimated 25,000 private wells in service throughout Anoka County. Only a small percentage of them are tested annually. For more information about well water testing, call the Environmental Services Unit at 763-422-7063.

Pick up a well water testing kit at participating communities and agencies:

  • City of Andover, City Hall (1685 Crosstown Blvd. NW)
  • City of Bethel, City Hall (23820 Dewey Street)
  • City of Blaine, City Hall (10801 Town Square Drive)
  • City of Centerville, City Hall (1880 Main Street)
  • City of Columbus, City Hall (16319 Kettle River Blvd. NE)
  • City of East Bethel, City Hall (2241 221st Avenue NE)
  • City of Ham Lake, City Hall (15544 Central Avenue NE)
  • City of Lino Lakes, City Hall (600 Town Center Parkway)
  • Linwood Township, Township Hall (22817 Typo Creek Drive NE)
  • City of Nowthen, City Hall (8188 199th Ave. NW)
  • City of Oak Grove, City Hall (19900 Nightingale St. NW)
  • City of Ramsey, City Hall (7550 Sunwood Drive NW)
  • City of St. Francis, City Hall (23340 Cree St NW)
  • Anoka Conservation District (1318 McKay Drive NW, Suite 300, Ham Lake)
  • Anoka County Extension Service (550 Bunker Lake Blvd. NW, Andover)
Irrigation Rain Sensor

Unique opportunity for Coon Rapids residents to get rain sensor

Attention Coon Rapids residents. Interested in conserving water when you water your lawn? Participate in a pilot program where you could receive a new irrigation sensor. (ABC News article)

The City of Coon Rapids is excited to launch a pilot program for ten selected households in Coon Rapids to receive lawn irrigation sensors to help reduce water consumption. Applicants must be Coon Rapids residents who have lived in their homes at least three years, have underground working sprinkler systems and have used those systems the previous three years.

Selected households must be willing to allow the City of Coon Rapids to access and utilize water data from the previous three years and three years after installation of the irrigation sensor. Residents chosen will also be required to complete an annual assessment via email or mail about how the irrigation system works and explain changes/issues. If awarded the irrigation sensor, installation will be provided by Best Irrigation and must be completed before June 1, 2016. See City agreement for details (agreement will be provided to participants chosen for the program).

Print out the program application and information about the sensor below.

Rain Sensor Information Sheet  Irrigation Pilot Program Application

For more information contact Colleen Sinclair at 763-767-6540.

Anoka Conservation District

Soil and water stewardship week

Abundant natural resources are more than just a source of pride – they are recreational and economic drivers for Anoka County. Conservation and protection is the foundation of the Anoka Conservation District (ACD).  ACD has worked hard for our soil, water and wildlife, managing programs that work toward the conservation and healthy use and development of our natural resources.

The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) honors and celebrates the work of Soil and Water Conservation Districts including Anoka Conservation District as part of Soil and Water Stewardship Week, April 24 – May 1, 2016.

Soil and Water Conservation Districts play a unique role because they provide soil and water conservation services to private landowners at a local level,” LeAnn Buck, Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Executive Director, said.  “Seventy-eight percent of Minnesota’s lands are private, and helping to increase conservation efforts on those lands is essential to keeping Minnesota’s natural resources healthy and strong.

This is the 61st annual Soil and Water Stewardship Week, organized by the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD).  Stewardship Week is one of the largest national annual programs to promote conservation. NACD represents the nation’s 3,000 conservation districts, which were established to encourage resource conservation across the country.  This year’s theme – We all need trees – highlights the many ways trees are vital in our daily lives.

For more information about Soil and Water Stewardship Week and how you can get involved in local conservation efforts, contact the Anoka Conservation District  at 763-434-2030.

Greg Kottsick (Fridley Utilities Manager)

Keeping hazardous chemicals out of drinking water

Greg Kottsick (Fridley Utilities Manager) gave the attendees at the Anoka County Hazardous Waste Management Training (for Very Small Quantity Generators) some good reasons to properly manage their wastes. “Generating hazardous waste is part of doing business, but it should never reach a municipal water supply well contaminating a community’s drinking water,” said Kottsick.

Fridley is a member of the Anoka County Municipal Wellhead Protection Group of ten water suppliers (Andover, Anoka, Blaine, Centerville, Circle Pines, Fridley, Lexington, Lino Lakes, St. Francis and Spring Lake Park). Municipal water suppliers are going the extra mile to protect the groundwater source of their community’s drinking water. Businesses and institutions in Anoka County attend the annual Hazardous Waste Generator Workshops to keep up on the latest management techniques to prevent pollution from harming our air, land and water resources.

Topics included in the hazardous waste workshop:

  • License Requirements
  • Manifests and Records
  • Waste Accumulation and Container Management
  • Aerosol and Electronic Wastes
  • Wellhead Protection and Water Pollution Prevention
  • Recycling Latex Paint (Amazon Environmental)
  • Business Recycling Assistance (Anoka County Recycling & Resource Solutions)
  • Calculating and Reducing License fees

A small quantity generator hazardous waste workshop will take place in September. For more information contact Laura Schmidt at Anoka County Environmental Services (763-422-7253,

Mn Water Action Week 2016

Water action week in Minnesota (April 17 – 23, 2016)

Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed April 17 – 23, 2016, to be Water Action Week in Minnesota. Learn what you can do to protect water quality and conserve water in your home and your community:

SPRINKLE SMARTLY. Water your lawn early in the morning, and don’t water your sidewalk and driveway. Shut your sprinkler off if it’s raining (make sure the rain sensors are working if you have them), and set the timer. Consider putting a rain barrel under your downspout to capture water, so you can use it later. More yard and garden tips.

TURN THE FAUCET OFF  when you’re brushing your teeth. Water comes out of the average faucet at 2 gallons per minute; you can save 4 gallons of water by just turning off the tap. Start a wash cycle only when you have a full load of dishes or clothes. Consider reusing towels instead of just using them once. What you can do in your home.

MIND THE GUTTER. Keep your leaves and grass clippings out of the street, or they will wash into the storm drain and eventually into our lakes and rivers. Phosphorus from leaves and grass creates green slime in the lakes from algae growth. Ways to reduce nutrients in lakes and streams.

AVOID CESSPOOLS. Maintain your septic system — especially if you have a house on a lake. Do you really want to be swimming in sewage? A poorly functioning septic system may not remove pathogens, nutrients, and other chemicals from the used water before it enters our groundwater or lakes. Septic system information for homeowners.

BUFFER YOUR SHORELINE. Natural shorelines of perennial vegetation help filter out phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment by slowing runoff and trapping sediment. The vegetation absorbs pollutants, preventing them from entering the water supply. More buffers are needed all around Minnesota, from lakeshores and river banks to water running through farm fields. Compare water quality with and without buffers.

DON’T BE A DRIP. At one drip per second, a faucet can leak 3,000 gallons in a year, and a running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water each day. Most leaks are easily repaired and can mean big savings. For even more savings, consider installing high efficiency fixtures and appliances. Don’t let your toilet run away.

KEEP IT CLEAN. Modern car washes use a lot less water per vehicle and recycle their water. Plus all that dirty, soapy water doesn’t end up running out of your driveway, down the stormdrain, and into some unlucky lake, stream, or wetland. Spoil yourself and your car by taking a trip to the car wash. Spring cleaning tips for protecting water.

GO TO A LOW NITROGEN DIET. Use as little nitrogen fertilizer on lawns and fields as possible. More is not always better and may mean less cash in your wallet. Learn more about reducing nitrogen fertilizer use by contacting your Soil and Water Conservation District Office. Why reducing nitrogen is important.

KNOW AND VOLUNTEER IN YOUR COMMUNITY. Get involved! Learn about local programs to protect water that are presented in the Anoka County Water Resources ReportVolunteer to monitor a lake or stream, join a local lake association, or attend your local watershed district meeting (local contacts). Clean, healthy water is connected to economic opportunities and healthy communities. Find an opportunity to volunteer.

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