March Well and Septic Maintenance Training

Save the date! Another opportunity for a well and septic maintenance training is coming up in March 2020!

Do you own your own well? How about a septic system? Do you wish you had a better idea of how to take care of them? Then you should plan on attending this upcoming class! Attendees with be provided a maintenance manual to keep. Refreshments and snacks will be provided.

In partnership with the City of Ramsey and the UMN Onsite Sewage Treatment Program, the Anoka Conservation District invites you to a free septic system and private well homeowner education class on Tuesday, March 10th from 5 – 7 pm in the Ramsey City Hall’s Alexander Ramsey Room (7550 Sunwood Dr. NW, Ramsey, 55303). Space is limited, so reserve your seat early. Register online here!

Learn about:

  • Potential contaminants in your drinking water well
  • How and when to inspect and maintain your septic system
  • Impacts of faulty or damaged wells and septic systems

Please email Emily Johnson at Emily.Johnson@AnokaSWCD.org or call her at 763-434-2030 x17 with any questions.

Climate Change in Minnesota

Have you noticed the more frequent and intense rainfalls we’ve had in Anoka County this year? Well that can be attributed to climate change.

Climate change is a widespread, complex scientific problem and area of research. Jaron Cook, with the Anoka Conservation District, recently published an article on their blog about the specific impacts climate change is having and will continue to have on Minnesota’s water resources.

“Minnesota is one of the states most impacted by climate change. Official precipitation and temperature data has been collected in Minnesota from 1895 through today, showing some striking statistics about our changing climate:

13% increase in the size of the heaviest annual rainfall

Since 2000, rains of more than 6″ are four times more frequent than the previous 30 years prior

65% increase in the number of 3″ rains

Average temperatures in Minnesota have warmed by 3˚F since 1895

Overall, Minnesota’s climate is warmer and wetter. “

30-Year Average Annual Precipitation GIF via MN DNR.

30-Year Average Annual Temperature GIF via MN DNR.

So, what are some examples of the impact that this extremely wet climate can have? We can think back to 2012 up in Duluth, MN.

“We witnessed the impact of elevated precipitation in 2012 when the most damaging flood in Duluth’s recorded history began when heavy rains fell over already saturated ground on June 19th and 20th. At the Duluth National Weather Service (NWS) the rainfall total for those two days was 7.24 inches. A NWS volunteer observer in Two Harbors recorded the storm’s largest value of 10.45 inches in 24 hours.

The aftermath included millions of dollars of insurance losses to repair roads, bridges, homes and businesses. Many homes foundations were damaged extensively and the houses were razed. One state highway (MN 23) was closed for 3 years while it was repaired. The City of Duluth has had to adapt their stormwater infrastructure to withstand events that 30 years ago were considered 500-year events, but now happen regularly. In June 2018, just southeast of Duluth, the area received up to 10″ of rain and once again damaged Highway 23.”

Duluth is pretty far north – what about Anoka County?

“Here in Anoka County, we’ve witnessed a similar story in 2019, with all of the monitored lakes, rivers, and streams in the County reaching historic water level averages for the year. This increase in precipitation only solidifies the need for comprehensive watershed management to make sure that our infrastructure and waterways can handle the increased erosion and flow produced by this additional rain.”

What are people doing about this? Well, climate change is a global problem and people around the world are taking action! Check out this site from the United Nations. You can always express your concern to your local legislators as well.

The image included with this post is a flooded farm near Cologne, MN and belongs to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

More information: MPCA’s Climate Change in Minnesota; MN DNR Climate Data.

Check out Jaron’s original article here.

Upcoming Meeting Regarding Aquatic Invasive Species

The Anoka County Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) team will be leading a stakeholder meeting to discuss the AIS Prevention Aid Program. They will summarize this year’s activities and discuss what the program may look like moving forward. Please join them to share your constructive insights and comments.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, November 21st from 2-3:30 pm at the Bunker Hills Activities Center (Maple Room).

Agenda Items:

  1. Welcome and Summary of County AIS Program for 2019
  2. Review Draft for 2020 AIS Prevention Aid Guidelines
  3. Identify Gaps in the Guidelines and Explore Additional Needs and Ideas to Improve the AIS Prevention Aid Program
  4. Wrap-Up and Adjourn

Let Jessica Abarca (Anoka County Parks Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator) know if you have any questions about the meeting or the program. She can be reached at Jessica.Abarca@co.anoka.mn.us or 763-324-3333.

ICYMI: Update on Manganese Levels in Ramsey Municipal Water Supply

In case you missed it, the City of Ramsey shared an update on manganese levels in the municipal water supply in the September/October 2019 issue of the City of Ramsey’s Resident newsletter.

“The City of Ramsey Utilities Department has been collecting and testing 15 water samples each month for manganese concentrations. To date, all samples have fallen below the 100 parts per billion (ppb) set by the Minnesota Department of Health for bottle-fed infants 12 months or younger. This info may be viewed at www.cityoframsey.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=180. The City continues to utilize only City wells with the lowest concentration of manganese. Timely rains have helped lower daily demands for water and our odd/even sprinkling ban also contributes to lower demand. If you have any questions about manganese levels or our municipal water supply, please contact our Utilities Supervisor John Nelson 763-433-9861. “

The newsletter can be accessed here, with this article on page 11.

St. Cloud Phosphorous Recovery

Check out this cool video the City of St. Cloud recently produced to illustrate the process of recovering phosphorous from their wastewater!

“In 2017, the Clean Water Fund provided partial support to the City of St. Cloud through the Public Facilities Authority’s Point Source Implementation Grant (PSIG) program. The grant supported upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment plant to meet more stringent standards for discharge into the Mississippi River. These upgrades also included technology to remove phosphorus from the wastewater and create a fertilizer product.”

St. Cloud may seem far away, but the Mighty Mississippi connects us, and this project benefits the entire watershed! You can learn more here.

EPA Risk Assessment & Emergency Response Planning

Calling all community water systems – do you have questions about the ERP (Emergency Response Plan) required by the EPA?

There is a free training coming up on October 29th, 2019. The training will be held in Chicago, but you can attend via webinar. You must register by October 22nd, 2019.

” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be holding a training session Tuesday, October 29 to provide drinking water utilities with detailed information on America’s Water Infrastructure Act, Sections 2013 and 2018. The training will cover the new risk assessment and emergency response plan requirements. Participants will learn how to use the updated Vulnerability Self-Assessment Tool to conduct the risk assessment and the new Emergency Response Plan Guidance and Template to develop and/or update an emergency response plan. They will also be informed on the final certification process as well as new emergency spill notification requirements and chemical inventory data availability. All water system managers and key personnel representing water systems with populations greater than 3,300 are strongly encouraged to register for this important training event. “

See this EPA flier for more information, as well has this template and guide for completing your assessment and plan.

Image belongs to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

No longer ‘out of sight, out of mind’: Making Groundwater Science Visible to Citizens and Clients

“No longer ‘out of sight, out of mind’: Making Groundwater Science Visible to Citizens and Clients” is the theme of the 2019 Minnesota Ground Water Association Fall Conference.

Description: “As the complexities of managing and legislating groundwater access, quality and use in Minnesota grow, the need to effectively communicate groundwater science has never been greater. Presentations at this meeting will showcase approaches to effective communication of groundwater science to the general public, as well as ways to effectively communicate research results with fellow professionals and clients – including ‘how do we communicate uncertainty?’ Effective management of groundwater also requires communication with legislators and legal professionals – we will hear about what legislators want to know, as well as the challenges of being an expert witness in groundwater science.”

Details can be found here.

Exhibitor opportunities available.

Image belongs to MGWA.

Fire Prevention Week 2019

This week (October 6th – 12th, 2019) is Fire Prevention Week – is your household prepared?

Did you know that you only have about 1-2 minutes to evacuate your home after the alarm sounds? The timeline in a fire moves much more quickly than you might think – click here for a descriptive explanation of the timeline.

For this reason it is crucial that your household is prepared for a possible fire. There are many resources available to help you create and practice a plan, including at the end of the previously mentioned timeline. The National Fire Prevention Association also has a worksheet you can use, along with a lighthearted video to help you out.

Safety.com has even more helpful tips and information to help keep you safe.

Image courtesy of Safety.com.

Lakeshore Restoration/Management Video

Are you a part of a lake association?

Are you interested in learning more about lakeshore restoration and management?

An animated, informative video (similar to the groundwater one recently published) on lakeshore restoration and management is in the works! The video will help explain the benefits of a restored shoreline, go over the various potential restoration techniques, and explain the next steps for those who want a restored lakeshore.

The Anoka County Water Resources Outreach Collaborative is developing the content for the video and is still looking for any lake associations that would like to collaborate with a financial contribution. This is a great way to celebrate 50 Years of Shoreland Management in Anoka County!

The Anoka Conservation District will also be matching any amount your lake association contributes! So, a $100 contribution becomes $200!

If you are at all interested – amount helps – or have any questions, please contact Emily Johnson with the Anoka Conservation Department by phone or email: emily.johnson@anokaswcd.org; 763-434-2030 ext. 17.

Saving Our Groundwater

Recently, the Anoka County Water Resources Collaborative (WROC) published an animated, informative video on groundwater called “Our Groundwater Connection”.

Staff from the Anoka Conservation District, MN Green Corps, and Anoka County Environmental Services were interviewed about the video by QCTV. We answered questions related to the video, as well as groundwater in general.

Check out the interview here!

The video is included in the interview segment, but the animated video by itself can be found here.

Please help us spread this video and join us in working to protect our precious water resources for generations to come!

Save the date! Well and Septic Maintenance Training This Spring

We are excited to announce that the Anoka County Water Resource Outreach Collaborative has scheduled another Well and Septic Maintenance Training!

The training is through the University of Minnesota’s Onsite Sewage Treatment Program and will be held in Ramsey, MN on March 10th, 2020.

A flyer and registration link will be developed in the near future, so stay tuned for updates!

Upcoming Smart Salting for Roads – Level 1 Class

Do any of the following describe you?

  • State, city, and county road maintenance staff
  • Contractors or private maintenance company
  • Staff or volunteer who manages snow and ice at a facility
  • Property manager
  • Distributors of anti-icing/de-icing products
  • An association who hires contractors

If so, this FREE upcoming smart salting training may be for you! Learn practical winter maintenance while saving money and time and minimizing impacts on the environment. Plus, there will be FREE coffee and breakfast!

The Smart Salting Level 1 Roads Certification Training on Wednesday, October 9th from 7:30 am to noon will help you learn how to integrate science with practical winter maintenance through presentations and class exercises. The practices you learn will help you save money, time, and the environment. You will be given a manual to keep as a reference.

What exactly will be covered in the class?

  • Application rates of materials (e.g. salt)
  • How to calibrate equipment
  • Weather conditions
  • Storing your materials
  • New maintenance methods
  • De-icing and anti-icing
  • Environmental effects
  • And more!

You can also GET CERTIFIED! An optional test is offered at the end of the workshop to earn a certification from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

Why is this training needed??

The salt applied to parking lots, sidewalks, and roads each year can have detrimental impacts to local waterways, plants, and wildlife. When snow and ice melts, salt runs into lakes and rivers, polluting water and harming aquatic life. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) estimates that 365,000 tons of road salt are used annually in the Twin Cities, and a single teaspoon of this salt can permanently pollute five gallons of water. At the same time, salt application is an important part of keeping Minnesotans safe in the winter, and correct application of de-icers and anti-icers can make the difference between a treacherous path and a safe walkway.

The class will be held at the Blaine Public Works Facility (1801 101st Ave NE, Blaine, MN 55449). Please register here.

Questions? Contact Emily Johnson (emily.johnson@anokaswcd.org, 763-434-2030 x17)

Funding for this workshop is provided by MPCA through a grant from US EPA, Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Fund. The course and materials were originally developed for the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization by Fortin Consulting, Inc. Content was created and reviewed through extensive collaboration with local experts.

Climate Week 2019

Climate week is September 23rd through 28th this year, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is one of many entities nationwide taking action this week! Check out this article from their news release earlier today.

Climate change and our water resources are intimately connected, so it is important for us to be aware of the impacts of climate change to protect these valuable resources. What will you do this week in recognition of climate week?

Upcoming Conversation on Drinking Water Protection with Environmental Initiative

Environmental Initiative, “a non-profit that helps develop partnerships and collaborative solutions to Minnesota’s environmental challenges” is hosting conversations around the state in regard to drinking water protection, in hopes of developing a statewide collaborative effort to protect drinking water at its source.

There will be a conversation for the NW metro on Thursday, September 26th from 5:30-8 pm at the Coon Rapids Civic Center (11155 Robinson Drive, Coon Rapids, MN 55433) in the Riverwind 2 room. Dinner will be provided from 5:30-6 pm, so please RSVP here or contact Erin Niehoff at eniehoff@en-in.org.

“The aim of the these conversations is to hear about community successes, challenges, and needs surrounding drinking water protection. The conversation will cover topics related to drinking water and land uses, such as landfills, storage tanks, septic systems, storm water runoff from road and land surfaces, agriculture, mining, forestry, industry and more… The conversation will also guide what the collaborative might look like, what it could accomplish, and who might be involved.” 

Learn more about Environmental Initiative here.

Image belongs to Environmental Initiative.

Upcoming Smart Salting Trainings

Whether we like it or not, winter is coming! There are several Smart Salting Certification Trainings coming up in September. For more information on any of these events, head over to the Events page and click on the training you want to learn more about or register for.

September 11th – Smart Salting for Parking Lots and Sidewalks Training

  • Host: Rice Creek Watershed District
  • Location: Blaine City Hall
  • Cost: Free

September 19th – Smart Salting for Parking Lots and Sidewalks Training

  • Host: Coon Creek Watershed District
  • Location: Springbrook Nature Center
  • Cost: $10 – includes a free pavement sensor!

September 26th – Smart Salting for Property Managers Training (NEW!)

  • Host: Rice Creek Watershed District
  • Location: St. Anthony Village City Hall
  • Cost: Free

September 27th – Smart Salting for Property Managers Training (NEW!)

  • Host: Anoka Conservation District and Coon Creek Watershed District
  • Location: SBM Fire Station 3 (11920 Ulysses St NE, Blaine)
  • Cost: $5
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