Community 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 2017 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:

Fish consumption guidelines

Anoka County is in the heart of the land of 10,000 lakes and some excellent fishing.  But how much do you know about the fish? Most fish in Minnesota are safe to eat.  All the fish in Anoka County lakes and rivers are safe to eat.  But, too much fish may not be healthy.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has new recommendations about how often to eat fish from certain Minnesota waters. MDH’s site-specific meal advice helps people limit exposure to contaminants like PCBs, mercury and PFOS by choosing fish lower in contaminants. MDH also offers more general statewide safe-eating guidelines for avoiding exposure to contaminants in fish from all sources. Information on fish contamination in local lakes and waters also can be found on the DNR LakeFinder web app.

Any fish (store-­‐bought or sport-­‐caught) could contain contaminants such as mercury that can harm human health especially the development of children and fetuses.  You can’t see, smell or taste the mercury in fish.  That’s why it is important to know what fish are safer than others.

For more information contact the Minnesota Department of Health Fish Consumption Advice website or call 651-201-5000.

Well water wise (3W) week (May 7-11, 2018)

The Anoka County Community Health and Environmental Services (CHES) Department, in cooperation with 15 municipalities and county agencies, is sponsoring the 19th annual Well Water Wise (3W) week promotion May 7-11, 2018 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 763-324-4260.

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 763-324-4260.

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

Circle Pines wellhead protection plan nears completion

A Public Information Meeting was held by the Centennial Utilities Board of Commissioners at Circle Pines City Hall (Wednesday, April 18, 2018) where the updated Part 2 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 2 (of 2 parts) of the city’s plan. Part 2 includes information pertaining to:

  1. The inventory of potential contaminants of concern within the Drinking Water Supply Management Area (DWSMA);
  2. The data that was considered in this portion of the plan;
  3. Issues, problems and concerns within the DWSMA;
  4. Goals, objectives and action strategies to address issues of concern;
  5. A Plan evaluation strategy; and
  6. A contingency strategy in the event of water system disruption.

Centennial Utilities Chair Andy Dahl and John Greer (Barr Engineering) indicates Circle Pines Drinking Water Supply Management Area (DWSMA)

A copy of the draft Part 2 Plan is available to be viewed at City Hall. The public hearing permits the public to ask questions and to comment on the draft Part 2 Plan.


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 wells. 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.

Safe drinking water through wellhead protection

Anoka County residents get their drinking water from either public (municipal) supply wells or private (home) wells. The exception is Columbia Heights and Hilltop communities that get their drinking water from the Mississippi River, supplied by the Minneapolis Water Works. Municipal public water suppliers in Anoka County have established a unique partnership to protect the source of their  drinking water through collaborative implementation of their community wellhead protection plans. Public water suppliers must establish a wellhead protection program that meets federal and state drinking water protection requirements.

Drinking water supply wells must be located and maintained to prevent contamination of the water system. For private (home and cabin) wells the owner has to prevent water pollution from nearby and on property sources (i.e. septic systems, excessive use of lawn chemicals and accidental release of household hazardous chemicals/waste) from reaching their well. See the Well Owners Handbook for details. Private wells may pump 300 to 600 gallons a day. Public water supply wells pump 100,000 to 1,000,000 gallons a day drawing groundwater from a larger area.

Regular testing helps to ensure that the water is – and remains – safe to drink. However, testing sometimes finds contaminants reaching the well that can make the water unsafe to drink. When a contaminant is found the question usually asked: how did it get into the groundwater, the well and the drinking water supply system?

Wellhead protection goes beyond routinely monitoring the quality of water, to protecting the source (groundwater) from pollution. Protecting the source of a community’s drinking water is best achieved through the cooperation of the residents and property owners that drink the water. Public water suppliers are contacting property owners and providing guidance to prevent pollution of the groundwater (aquifer) source of their drinking water.

The Anoka County Municipal Wellhead Protection Group has developed a map application that displays the Drinking Water Supply Management Areas (DWSMA) in Anoka County. A DWSMA outlines a wellhead protection area that is readily identified by landmarks (e.g. property lines, roads, ditches, etc.). Residents and property owners can see if they are in a wellhead protection area. The public water supplier is able to see potential sources of water pollution and well construction reports and unsealing certificates by activating layers in the DWSMA map application.


The members of the Anoka County Municipal Wellhead Protection Group have established an efficient and cost effective cooperative program to protect the groundwater source of community drinking water systems through jointly implementing common elements of their wellhead protection plans.  The municipal members of the ACMWPG combined their resources and energy to establish the KnowTheFlow.us website.  Wellhead protection is a program to reduce the impacts of pollution on groundwater near public water supply wells.  The community members of the Municipal Wellhead Protection Group are Andover, Anoka, Blaine, Centerville, Circle Pines, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Lexington, Lino Lakes, Saint Francis and Spring Lake Park.

For more information on the protection of your drinking water contact your public water supplier’s Wellhead Protection Manager.

Anoka Conservation District – Update

The Anoka Conservation District (ACD) provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners to manage natural resources in a way that conserves and improves soil and water resources. When established in 1946, ACD largely worked with agricultural producers but has since evolved to serve the changing demographics of the county. With very little agriculture remaining, ACD provides assistance to landowners on all sized properties and local governments to plan and implement wise resource management strategies.

The guiding mission and policies of the district are established by a board of five elected supervisors and implemented by a staff that ranges from seven to nine full and part time employees (more information about the staff and board of supervisors can be found in their respective sections).


2017 Anoka Water Almanac

This report summarizes water resources management and monitoring work done as a cooperative effort between the Anoka Conservation District (ACD) and a watershed district or watershed management organization. It includes information about lakes, streams, wetlands, precipitation, groundwater, and water quality improvement projects. The results of this work are presented on a watershed basis—this document serves as an annual report to each of the watershed organizations that have helped fund the work.


Savvy About Stormwater – Video Contest

The Anoka Conservations District Stormwater Video Contest is open to Anoka County residents/students in grades 7-12 and college students 21 and under. ACD wants your video to qualify for the contest, so please read the video requirements carefully.

Contact Emily Johnson with questions: emily.johnson@anokaswcd.org

Example of a stormwater video (from Greenville South Carolina)


File for Anoka Conservation District Board of Supervisors

Two Supervisor districts are up for election District 2 (Andover and Coon Rapids) and District 3 (Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids, Fridley and Spring Lake Park). The vacancies to the Anoka Conservation District Board of Supervisors will be filled at the next election November 6, 2018.
The quality of natural resources play an important role in Anoka County’y quality of life and economic vitality. Citizens interested in leading the Conservation District’s management efforts are encouraged to run for Supervisor. Being a supervisor is an opportunity for you to become involved in the management your community’s natural resources.

Interested parties must file May 22nd through June 5, 2018. Candidates will appear on the ballot for the general election on November 6, 2018. The candidates must live in their nominating district. Anoka County Elections and Voter Registration (763-323-1300) accepts candidate filing.

Sign up for the Natural Resources Field Trip

Anoka County Extension Service invites all 4th & 5th grade classrooms to attend the Natural Resources Field Trip.

FIELD TRIP OBJECTIVES

  • Provides a fun environmental experience in a natural, outdoor setting.
  • Includes information about Minnesota habitat and wildlife at different stations out in nature.
  • Educational topics may include: birds, honey bees, animals, plants, trees, recycling, fish families, reptiles, animal skulls and skeletons, wildlife control and more.
  • If time allows, classes may participate in up to 12 stations.

SCHEDULE FOR THE DAY

  • Schools arrive at the site by 9:45 a.m. If your school plans to be late, please notify our office ahead of time.
  • Each class will be assigned to a teaching station located in the park.
  • Classes will rotate to a different station with a half-hour lunch break at noon. Students must plan to carry their lunch with them.
  • There is no guarantee that your class will be able to visit each station.
  • The last session ends at 2:30 p.m. Note: Your school may leave at whatever time necessary, so that the buses arrive back at your school on time.
  • Schools will receive more information prior to field trip dates.

The Natural Resources Field Trip is coordinated by Anoka County 4-H and funded with an Anoka County Agricultural Preserves grant and student fees. If you have questions please contact Jy Xiong (4-H Program Coordinator) at xion0264@umn.edu or Kim Fersuson (Support Staff) at furgu029@umn.edu.

Rain Barrel and Compost Bin Sale

Order a Compost Bin & Rain Barrel

The Recycling Association of Minnesota has partnered with Green Lights Recycling (Blaine) to provide Anoka County residents with rain barrels and compost bins at low cost. For more information, call the Recycling Association of Minnesota at (651) 641-4589 or email beth@recycleminnesota.org

TO ORDER click here 

PICK UP your rain barrel and/or compost bin 4-7PM on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at:

Green Lights Recycling
10040 Davenport St NE, Blaine, MN 55449

Rain Catcher Rain Barrel ( $79 plus tax)

  • The large opening and flat back design allow for easy installation and placement of the downspout while the spoke and wheel pattern in the top of the barrel keeps it child and pet safe.
  • The overflow connection at the back of the barrel allows excess water to flow down and underneath the barrel to direct it away from foundations.
  • Spigots on the side of the barrel allow you to connect multiple Rain Catcher barrels in-series for easy expansion of your rain water storage capacity.
  • The aluminum mesh screen keeps out debris and mosquitoes to keep the water clear and keep your family safe from insect borne illnesses.

Place them around your home to catch fresh chlorine-free water as it pours from your downspouts – Water that would otherwise make its way into storm sewers only to be wasted. Rain barrels not only save you money but lessen the strain on water resources.

Home Composter Compost Bin $64 plus tax*

*Anoka County residents can get this bin for only $44 plus tax! To receive the discounted price, pre-order online at RecycleMinnesota.org and enter promo code Anoka.

• Made of sturdy, yet lightweight, 100% recycled plastic materials
• Two-piece construction for easy transporting and turning of materials
• Large capacity: 17 cu. ft.
• Wide opening at the top – easy to add and view materials
• Lockable lid to deter animals
• Sliding doors on each side to monitor status of compost

National Wildlife Week in Anoka County

National Wildlife Week (March 12th through the 16th) is designed around teaching and connecting kids to the awesome wonders of wildlife.

IN ANOKA COUNTY. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources oversees nearly twenty thousand acres (31 square miles) of land conserved within seven Wildlife Management Areas (WMA):

For more information contact the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or email info.dnr@state.mn.us.

The Anoka Conservation District encourages property owners to “branch out for wildlife” through their tree and shrub sale.  Click on the on-line ordering and payment webpage to see the variety of plants available or call ACD at (763) 434-2030.

BE PREPARED FOR A FLOOD

Because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past, doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. Flood risk isn’t just based on history, it’s also based on a number of factors: rainfall, river-flow, topography, flood-control measures, and changes due to construction and development.

Although many floods are caused by huge storms like hurricanes, more floods occur every day from small, localized events, such as a typical afternoon thunderstorm. No matter where you live, it is important to remember that just a few inches of water in a home can cause thousands of dollars of damage.

Determine your Flood Risk at FloodSmart.gov  Is your property in a high risk or moderate to low risk area? Knowing your flood profile will help you understand your risk of financial loss. Simply enter your property address to see your relative risk, find links to flood maps, and other flood insurance community resources.

Flood maps determine your level of risk. You can also view current flood maps at FEMA’s Map Store. FEMA is producing new digitized flood maps for hundreds of communities. These new maps will reflect changes in floodplains caused by new development and natural forces.

Other Flood Precautions People Should Take
Being FloodSmart includes protecting your property before floods occur. Be sure that major appliances, electric switchboxes, outlets and heating equipment are well above potential flood levels. Install floating drain plugs and sewer system backflow valves to help prevent flood drain overflow.

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