Do you know where your drinking water comes from?

Drinking water test reports 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 2016 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:

Citizen Volunteer monitoring lake quality.

2016 Citizen Water Monitoring Reports Ready

With the many lakes, streams and creeks found throughout Anoka County – how can we tell if our water resources remain clean? It’ll take a lot to monitor and track trends in the quality of our water resources. Volunteers make the difference by collecting and sharing water quality information. And that data is shared through the Citizen Water Monitoring web page.

You can now view the 2016 Citizen Lake and Stream Monitoring Program data! To access the 2016 data, go to the Citizen Monitoring Program Individual Site Report website. From there you can navigate to the data on specific lakes, creeks or streams.

You can also link to water quality assessment information for your lake or stream and review trend results to find out if transparency is improving or declining over time on your favorite waterbody.

To learn more about the Citizen Science Water Monitoring Program visit the MPCA’s Citizen Water Monitoring web page or view the videos: MPCA Citizen Science Program (MPCA YouTube; 3:46); EPA Volunteers Make Citizen Science Work (EPA YouTube; 2:12); Can Citizen Science Save Us? (TEDxStanford YouTube) or call the MPCA at 651-296-6300 and ask to speak to the Citizen Water Monitoring program coordinator.

  • To become a Citizen Lake Monitoring volunteer visit the CLMP sign-up web page.
  • To become a Citizen Stream Monitoring volunteer visit the CSMP sign-up web page.
Circle Pines Water Tower

Circle Pines drinking water protection plan making progress

A Public Information Meeting was held by the Centennial Utilities Board of Commissioners at Circle Pines City Hall (Wednesday, May 17, 2017) where the updated Part 1 of the Circle Pines Wellhead Protection Plan was presented for public review and discussion.

Circle Pines is amending its Wellhead Protection Plan for its drinking water supply wells. The Minnesota Department of Health approved the amendment of Part 1 (of 2 parts) of the city’s plan. Part 1 includes information pertaining to:

  1. The delineation of the wellhead protection areas,
  2. The Drinking Water Supply Management Area boundaries, and
  3. An assessment of the vulnerability of the wells and DWSMAs.

A complete copy of the Part 1 plan amendment containing the technical information used to delineate the wellhead protection area, drinking water supply management area, and aquifer vulnerability used by City wells is available at Circle Pines City Hall.

Circle Pines / Centennial Utilities Meeting 20170517

What is wellhead protection? Wellhead Protection is a way to prevent drinking water from becoming contaminated by managing potential sources of pollution in the area which supplies water to the City’s well. Much can be done to prevent pollution, such as the wise use of land and chemicals. Public health is protected and the expense of treating polluted water or drilling a new well is avoided.

What is a wellhead protection area? A wellhead protection area is a zone around a public water supply well managed to keep pollutants from rapidly reaching the community’s water supply.  The area that is managed uses easily identifiable landmarks as boundaries (e.g. streets, property lines, ditches) called the Drinking Water Supply Management Area (DWSMA).  The wellhead protection area is based on the minimum time (ten years) for a pollutant to reach the well.

Who’s Impacted?
A wellhead protection area includes hundreds to thousands of properties. Residents and businesses within a wellhead protection area are asked to cooperate with your water supplier to effectively protect our water supply without establishing additional ordinances or regulatory programs.

Centennial Utilities provides the services of natural gas, water, sewer, garbage and recycling to Circle Pines customers and provides natural gas services to Lino Lakes and Blaine customers. Centennial Utilities derived from the “cooperative lifestyle” of the City of Circle Pines forefathers. Centennial Utilities was formed to provide the community with its own utility needs.  Centennial Utilities has a Board of five Commissioners who meet monthly on the third Wednesday of the month at 4 p.m.

For more information about Circle Pines Wellhead Protection program contact Patrick Antonen at (763) 231-2605.

Minnesota’s 25x’25 public engagement initiative

25BY25 (image) 590x250

Governor Mark Dayton has set forth an ambitious goal of achieving a 25% improvement in Minnesota’s water quality by the year 2025. The Governor’s office, with the support of state agencies and local partners, is launching a public engagement process from June through November 2017 to gather input across Minnesota on reaching the 25 x ’25 goal. The objectives are to identify regionally-specific priorities, create a shared vision for what a 25% improvement will look like for different parts of the state, and develop strategies to get there.

25BY25 meetings will be held throughout the state July – October.  The Governor is planning 3 meetings in the Metro area: Minneapolis 9/26, Burnsville 10/4, and Maplewood 10/5.  All from 6 – 8pm. Updates and information will be posted on the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board’s 25BY25 webpage.

The Anoka County Community Health Board has determined that water quality and sustainable drinking water is a most important community health issue. Addressing water challenges involve the participation of community leaders, organizations, residents and businesses working together. Each community in Anoka County has prepared plans and is collaborating in the protection and management of their water resources.

Residents need safe drinking water. The source of Anoka County’s drinking water is found within its communities through the use of public and private water wells (ground water). Businesses need an adequate and sustained supply of good quality water. Communities need natural resources that are managed well. For more information see the “Water Management in Anoka County” brochure or contact Bart Biernat (763-422-6985,


Well Water Wise (3W) week (May 8-12, 2017) test your home/cabin well

(Update, May 11, 2017) Springbrook Nature Center (Fridley) has joined to distribute kits for well water testing and to promote safe drinking water for all Anoka County residents. 

(UPDATE, May 7, 2017) Wargo Nature Center (Lino Lakes) has joined to distribute kits for well water testing and to promote safe drinking water for all Anoka County residents.

The Anoka County Community Health and Environmental Services (CHES) Department, in cooperation with 15 municipalities and county agencies, is sponsoring the 18th annual Well Water Wise (3W) week promotion May 8-12, 2017 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:


Cube At Springbrook NC

Andover Water Pledge Medal

Andover will defend it’s 2016 first place victory for water conservation

Andover Mayor Julie Trude has accepted the challenge to repeat Andover’s 2016 win in the Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. Andover placed first in the nation for water conservation pledges made by residents and businesses in April 2016. Mayor Trude said that Andover is currently second in the 2017 pledge standing, but there is a long way to go.

The Wyland Foundation held the kickoff of the 2017 National Mayor’s Challenge at the Mall of America (April 3, 2017). Do your part this Earth Month (April 1-30) by taking 1 minute to go to MYWATERPLEDGE.COM and make your pledge to conserve water and energy on behalf of your neighbors, your community and yourself.

Waylaid Mayor's Challenge Kickoff at MOA (20170403)

Andover Mayor, Julie Trude, accepts the challenge at the official kickoff of the 2017 National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation at the Mall of America.

Wyland and its partners are giving away over $50,000 in prizes like an all-new 2017 Toyota Prius Prime and a $500 home improvement shopping spree.

Once you’ve made your water pledge at tell your friends to do the same and you’ll be entered into a daily eco-prize drawings for $1,000’s in prizes. In fact, if your friend makes a water conservation pledge after using your referral link and happens to win a daily prize, you’ll be made a winner for that day too!

Wyland is giving away up to $100 in cash prizes, an Apple iPad mini and more eco-friendly prizes so make your pledge and start sharing today! The earlier you make your pledge and share, the more chances you have of winning!

City of Ramsey

Connecting water to business, health and community vitality

The City or Ramsey held its 9th annual Business Expo (4/1/2017). At the Expo was the Anoka County Water Task Force representing the various local and state agencies that monitor water resources in our communities and support initiatives to keep our lakes, streams, rivers and groundwater clean and sustainable.

Anoka County water resources are too often taken for granted. When we turn the faucet on we expect safe drinking water to fill our glass or to make juice and coffee. We expect all the water we want for our lawns, to wash our clothes-dishes-cars, flush toilets, and take showers. Local water resources support manufacturing, agriculture, commercial, recreational facilities and businesses.

Ramsey Business Expo2 (407x270)

The Water Task Force table at the 9th annual City of Ramsey Business Expo

And there are the biggest water users in Anoka County, the public utilities. Communities have established public water supply systems that operate like a business. They construct groundwater wells, water towers, and water mains to deliver water to residents and businesses who pay a fee for the service availability and the water they use.

With population growth and development our dependence on our water resources have grown too. And, Anoka County isn’t finished growing. However, local natural resources (e.g. lakes and groundwater aquifers) don’t grow.  Ensuring the sustainability and quality of local water resources is a responsibility shared by everyone.

The Anoka County Water Task Force brings together residents, businesses, public utilities, communities and service organizations to address our water challenges. Topics addressed at the Water Task Force booth included:

Ramsey Business Expo 2017 (slide2)

Lawn conversion video series

Thinking of lawn renovation? This series might help you decide.

Thinking of lawn renovation? This series might help you decide.

Do you have a weedy lawn or a lawn currently composed of high maintenance turfgrass species and you want transition to something that takes less work and is better for the environment?  If so, please have a look at this series of 7 videos sponsored by the Minnesota Turf and Grounds Foundation.  This process is best accomplished in the fall from August 15th to September 15th, but spring conversions are possible as well.  Following the last step, erosion control, you’ll want to be sure to keep the seedbed moist throughout the germination period, which is generally 7-14 days.  Light, frequent irrigation cycles, approximately 3-4 times per day, will ensure adequate and timely germination.  A special thank you to Extension Educator, Karl Foord for coordination and production of these videos. Enjoy!

Anoka Conservation District

Anoka water almanac 2016 is now available

The 2016 Anoka Water Almanac (20+ Mb) provides a comprehensive review of the quantity and quality of Anoka County water resources in 2016.  This almanac summarizes water resources management and monitoring work done as a cooperative effort between the Anoka Conservation District the watershed districts or watershed management organizations.

The Almanac presents water information on a watershed basis (that also serves as an annual report for the watershed organization that helps fund the work). Do you know which of the seven watersheds in Anoka County that you are located? If you want to learn about the current condition or trends in your local water (quality or quantity) the Water Almanac is a good place to start.

For more information contact the Anoka Conservation District’s Water Resources Specialist, Jamie Schurbon, at 763-434-2030.

The Almanac summarizes water information and projects performed by the Anoka Conservation District.

The Almanac summarizes water information.

National Fix A Leak Week (US EPA)

Fix-A-Leak Week (March 20-26, 2017)

Get into Fix-A-Leak Week. Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide, so each year we hunt down the drips during Fix a Leak Week. But remember that you can check your plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems, fix the leaks, and save valuable water and money all year long.

Water efficiency is the smart use of our water resources through water-saving technologies and simple steps we can all take around the house. Using water efficiently will help ensure reliable water supplies today and for future generations.

“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water” (Benjamin Franklin).

From family fun runs to leak detection contests to WaterSense demonstrations, Fix a Leak Week events happen from coast to coast and are all geared to teach you how to find and fix household leaks.

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