Water Protection

The City of Farmington relies on groundwater for our drinking water supply. The city owns and operates seven wells, which draw water from groundwater aquifers located several hundred feet underground. Despite this depth, groundwater aquifers are vulnerable to contamination from human activities on the land.

The city’s wellhead protection plan has been implemented to provide enough clean water for our everyday needs.

What is groundwater?

Groundwater is rain, melting snow, and surface water that soaks into the earth. This water fills the small spaces between sand, gravel, and cracks in solid rock, known as an aquifer. How fast water moves in an aquifer depends on how much a well is pumped and what type of material the water is moving though.

What is wellhead protection?

Wellhead protection is how we prevent drinking water from becoming polluted. The area of land that supplies water to a city well is managed for possible sources of contamination.

Wellhead protection is ongoing to ensure our drinking water is protected—today and for the future.

  1. The City of Farmington, in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Health and several local and county agencies developed a wellhead protection plan.
  2. The overall goals of the city’s wellhead protection plan are to:
    Prevent contamination of the aquifer and, manage the aquifer cooperatively to assure sustainable water supplies for all users.

How do wells become polluted?

The groundwater that supplies wells, often comes from a short distance; usually only a few miles from the well. Wells become polluted when substances that are harmful to humans get into the groundwater. Water from these wells can be dangerous to drink when the level of pollution rises above health standards. Many everyday activities can cause groundwater pollution; make sure you do what you can to protect drinking water.

How can I help?

Frequently asked questions?

What is the benefit of wellhead protection?
Wellhead protection provides an adequate supply of clean water. Preventing contamination is of extreme importance.

There are rules and statutes pertaining to wellhead protection. Do these rules and statutes affect private wells?
No. They only affect the public water supply.

What is the city required to do to protect the public water supply?
The city is required to manage a 200-foot radius (the inner-wellhead management zone) surrounding each public well, by:

  • Maintaining the isolation distance for newly installed potential sources of contamination as defined in the state Well Code (MN Rules, chapter 4725).
  • Monitoring existing potential sources of contamination that do not comply with the isolation distances.
  • Implementing wellhead protection measures for potential contaminant sources in the inner-wellhead management zone.

Also, the city must prepare a wellhead protection plan which includes:

  • A map showing the wellhead protection areas,
  • A vulnerability assessment of the well and the wellhead protection area,
  • An inventory of potential sources of contamination within the wellhead protection areas based on the vulnerability assessment,
  • A plan to manage and monitor existing and proposed potential sources of contamination, and
  • A contingency strategy for an alternative water supply should the water supply be disrupted by contamination or mechanical failure.

Does the city own all the property within that 200-feet inner-wellhead management zone?
No. There is no requirement that the city has to own all the property within the 200-foot radius surrounding public wells.

Are there unused and unsealed wells in Dakota County?
There are approximately 30,000 unused wells in Dakota County. Many of these may have been buried or forgotten. Unused wells that have not been professionally sealed can be a source of groundwater contamination that could threaten the water in the city wells, your neighbors well, or your own.

I have an unused well on my property. What can I do?
Dakota County has a grant cost share program to help well owners properly seal and abandon unused wells. Search for “seal abandoned well” at Dakota County for more information on this program.

Where can I have my well water tested?
The Minnesota Department of Health has a list of certified laboratories in the State for private well owners and Dakota County can provide water testing kits and/or County personnel to sample your drinking water for a fee.

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