Groundwater contamination affects our use of this precious resource and is a concern for a variety of public and private users. City planners need this type of information when looking for possible locations for new municipal drinking water wells. Businesses need it when they rely on clean water to function, and are looking to expand or develop new facilities. And citizens benefit from access to this information as they make decisions about where to place private drinking water wells, or simply for peace of mind.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) collects much groundwater data from remediation sites, but it is typically stored in paper and electronic files that are not easily accessible. The Groundwater Contamination Mapping Project seeks to move this data into a standardized data management system that can be accessed through a web-based, interactive map. In the first phase, about 100 active Superfund sites that are part of this project.
This project is a stepping stone to increase public awareness about groundwater. For most people, it is a resource that is out of sight and out of mind. Maps showing areas where groundwater is polluted will help build public knowledge and appreciation that is needed to protect and conserve this valuable resource.
Concept map design elements — invitation to provide input
We invite you to provide input into the design process by commenting on the three interactive design elements: map, site scorecard, and a data download menu. Email feedback to the project team at GroundwaterMapping.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The map will detail where there is known groundwater contamination from active MPCA and Minn. Department of Agriculture (MDA) Superfund sites. Below is an example of how a site map might look like.
We are interested in hearing from users if the symbols and areas of contamination are understandable.
The Site Story will provide unique information not shown on the map. This additional detail and associated graphical elements for each site will be displayed when a user selects a site to view.
The Site Story will include the information listed below:
What is the site contaminated with?
- What chemical is it?
- What are the health concerns?
- Where did the contamination come from?
What is being done about it?
- What actions are being taken at the site (i.e. treatment, monitoring, controlled access/use)?
Are there other impacts?
- Is there a potential for vapor intrusion?
- Is there known soil, surface water or sediment contamination?
- Who can I contact for additional information?
Where does the area's drinking water come from?
This section will a short narrative with a graphic telling where drinking water in the area comes from.
How much contamination is there?
This section will display a table that shows contaminants of concern, the health guidance value, and the minimum and maximum levels of contamination found in wells that were tested.
For some areas of contamination, a graphic will show where there is more contamination and where there is less contamination.
How deep is the contamination?
This section will be a short narrative that explains how deep the contamination is underground.
For some areas of contamination, a graphic will show how deep the contamination is underground.
The data download menu will allow users to download data used to make the map.
In July of 2017, the MPCA received funding from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund to make groundwater data from Superfund sites more accessible to the public. With this funding the MPCA is beginning a three-year project that will make the information accessible in a new way.
The project will compile groundwater data from the MPCA’s and MDA's Superfund program into a central database and will produce a web-based interactive map along with supporting data files. The project will be broken up into three pieces:
- Year 1 activities will include extracting groundwater data from individual MPCA files to populate the centralized EQuIS water-quality database.
- During year 2, staff will begin mapping areas of groundwater contamination using the compiled data. There are multiple options for displaying this data. The agency will consult with stakeholders to determine what format best suits users’ needs.
- In year 3, the web-based data and map application will be made available to the public.
It is important that the MPCA receive input and feedback from interested partners as the project moves forward. If you have questions or input on the project, please email them to the project team at GroundwaterMapping.email@example.com.
Those interested in following the project’s progress are encouraged to sign up for the Groundwater Contamination Mapping Project GovDelivery list. Find it in the "Cleanup" section of the MPCA's subscription page.