Groundwater monitoring and assessment
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency collects large amounts of groundwater quality data. Most of this is collected through programs such as Superfund, Petroleum Remediation, and Landfills. This monitoring is considered investigation and compliance monitoring. Only small amounts of data are collected through ambient groundwater monitoring.
Ambient monitoring has two primary objectives:
- to determine the status of the groundwater resources
- to identify trends in water quality over time
Between 1989 and 2001, the MPCA conducted ambient monitoring through the Ground Water Monitoring and Assessment Program (GWMAP). In 2003, the MPCA re-established an ambient monitoring effort.
In 2004, the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and the MPCA completed a Memorandum of Agreement that described monitoring responsibilities for each agency. Consequently, MPCA’s ambient monitoring activities differ considerably from those of our former program, GWMAP.
This webpage contains information about on-going ambient monitoring efforts, historic information from GWMAP, and other groundwater information useful for a variety of audiences. For information on the average concentration of a specific chemical in a particular aquifer or at a particular location in Minnesota, see Statewide Baseline Study.
Other organizations involved with groundwater
- Board of Water and Soil Resources BWSR provides outreach and comprehensive water planning to local government officials, planners and managers.
- Metropolitan Council Metropolitan Council is responsible for planning the regional water supply for the seven-county metropolitan region. As a part of this responsibility, the council periodically updates data and information on water supply and demand and prepares water-use projections for the metropolitan area.
- Minnesota Department of Agriculture MDA is the lead state agency for all aspects of pesticide and fertilizer environmental and regulatory functions, and monitors groundwater for the presence of agricultural chemicals.
- Minnesota Department of Health - Groundwater MDH has water-quality information for approximately 16,000 public water supply wells.
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources DNR tracks groundwater use and levels, and in some cases oversees tests to determine whether pumping a new or existing well affects water levels in nearby wells. They have groundwater level information available for about 1,500 observation wells.
- Minnesota Geological Survey Maintains the County Well Index database which has water-level data from more than 300,000 wells statewide and the ability to select data by aquifer, location, and other parameters.
For more information about ambient groundwater monitoring at the MPCA, contact Sharon Kroening or call toll free at 1-800-657-3864.