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 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:

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.


  • 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.


  • 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 or Kim Fersuson (Support Staff) at

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

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 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

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.


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  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.

Drinking water protection grants for small public systems

ANNOUNCEMENT (link). The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announces the availability of funding to support the protection of drinking water at noncommunity transient public water system (PWS) that include water wells that serve a restaurant, hotel or office building. Non-community transient systems serve at least 25 people at least 60 days of the year, but do not serve the same 25 people over that period of time. Source water protection activities that are funded under this grant program must support measures that address a potential contamination source that presents a high risk to a source of drinking water as determined by the Minnesota Department of Health.

GRANT AWARDS (link). The total amount of funding that is available under this notice is $75,000. The minimum amount for any grant is $250 and the maximum amount is $10,000 and requires an equal cost share. However, when more than one qualifying non-community transient PWS apply under the same grant request, the cap amount will be increased by as much as $10,000 for each additional PWS up to a maximum grant amount of $30,000.

ELIGIBILITY. A source water protection non-community transient competitive grant is intended to support implementation of the source water protection measures that address a potential source of contamination exhibiting a high risk that is recognized by MDH either 1) in a sanitary survey or 2) through corrective actions relating to monitoring for a contaminant that may result in an acute public health concern.

Applications for this grant program are accepted between Friday September 1, 2017 8:00 a.m. and Friday March 30, 2018 at 4:30 p.m.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT. Kris Wenner, Source Water Protection Grant Coordinator ( subject line of email:  Attention Kris Wenner.

25BY25 top concerns for water quality improvement

Governor Mark Dayton has released a report of the 25BY25 town hall meetings, held last year, that asked Minnesotans what are their top concerns about the state’s water quality. The report identifies nine main themes:

  • Education, communication and engagement
  • Reducing runoff by holding more water on the land
  • Working together across levels of government and with the public
  • Locally led watershed planning
  • Pollutants and drinking water
  • Salt pollution
  • Septic systems
  • Funding
  • Incentives and regulation

The Know The Flow website is a coordinated effort of Anoka County agencies, Cities, Watershed Management Organizations and non-government organizations to address local water challenges. Our water resources supply us with safe drinking water; healthy fish; and safe swimming beaches. The coordination of local agencies through these collaborative efforts improve the efficiency of the various programs by encouraging residents and landowners to use best methods to prevent water pollution and keep local water resources sustainable for the next generation.

Register for the 2018 Metro Area Children’s Water Festival

Attention Twin Cities 4th grade teachers!

Registration is open to attend the 2018 Metro Area Children’s Water Festival that will take place on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The Festival will include over 1,400 metropolitan area students (plus home-school students) to learn a most important lesson: WATER CONNECTS EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING ON EARTH.

The purpose of the festival is to raise participants understanding of how water makes everyday life possible. Through understanding the water cycle, and its importance to natural resources, participants learn to appreciate our natural environment and apply conservation measures for sustained water resources. Classes will be selected from the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

The 2018 annual Metro Area Children’s Water Festival is the 21st festival that is held on the last Wednesday of September. Over twenty-six thousand students have attended previous festivals. Many have children of their own. The sponsors of the Festival intend to develop a metropolitan community that recognizes the importance of clean and sustainable water resources.

4th Grade Standards. This festival is geared to fourth grade students to match the Minnesota Science Standards for water lessons that are part of the education benchmarks.

Parents of homeschool children are encouraged to register for the lottery drawing that is open to all 4th grade level students.

To register for the 2015 Metro Children’s Water Festival please fill out the Registration Form and submit according to the instructions. The deadline for registration is March 16, 2018. For more information contact Bart Biernat (763-324-4207,

Watch the Metro Children’s Water Festival (YouTube; 4:47) to see what happens at the festival

International Day of Women & Girls in Science

International Day of Women and Girls in ScienceA gender gap persists in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines all over the world. Women have made tremendous progress increasing their participation in the science and engineering fields. The International Day of Women and Girls in Science inspires all women that they can be the scientist that changes the world.

Whose your favorite female scientist? In Anoka County, the women making our communities a safer and better place to live, work and play includes:

  • Caitlin Barale Potter (Outreach Coordinator, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Res.)
  • Beth Carreno (Communications Coordinator, Rice Creek Watershed Dist.)
  • Justine Dauphinais (Water Quality Coordinator, Coon Creek Watershed Dist.)
  • Dawn Doening (Information & Education Coordinator, Coon Creek Watershed Dist.)
  • Kate Drewery (Hydrologist, Anoka area, MN Department of Natural Resources)
  • Melinda “Mindy” Erickson (Hydrologist, US Geological Survey – MN)
  • Kaci Fisher (Environmental Compliance, Hakanson Anderson Inc.)
  • Lisa Gilliland (Supervisor, Wargo Nature Center – Anoka Co. Parks)
  • Jessi Gurr (President, Iceberg Web Design)
  • Diane Hankee (Engineer, City of Lino Lakes)
  • Rebecca Haug (Water Resources Manager, City of Blaine)
  • Kathryn Jones (Project Manager, HDR, Inc)
  • Jean Keeley (Engineer, City of Blaine)
  • Sarah Lloyd (Engineer, Bolton & Menk)
  • Joan McKearnan (Science Instructor, Anoka-Ramsey Community College)
  • Lauren Sampedro (Water Resources Specialist, Rice Creek Watershed Dist.)
  • Carley Schmidt (Environmental Health Specialist, Anoka County)
  • Laura Schmidt (Hazardous Waste Specialist, Anoka County)
  • Colleen Sinclair (Recycling Coordinator, City of Coon Rapids)
  • Carrie Taylor (Nature Restoration Specialist, Anoka Conservation Dist.)
  • Amy Ulbricht (Commercial Waste Specialist, Anoka County)
  • Laurel Woodruff (Research Geologist, US Geological Survey – MN)
  • Becky Wozney (Wetland Specialist, Anoka Conservation Dist.)

Check out the Women’s Environmental Network for information on local events for women scientists.


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