Groundwater Contamination Mapping Project

Groundwater containation mapping project questions

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.

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.pca@state.mn.us.

Map

The map will detail where there is known groundwater contamination from active MPCA and Minn. Department of Agriculture (MDA) Superfund sites.

Mockup of groundwater contamination mapping project mapSite scorecard

The site scorecard will provide unique site information not shown on the map portion. This additional detail and graphical elements for each site will be stored in a database and displayed when a user selects a site to view.

The questions below provide possible groupings and topics that will be answered on each site’s scorecard.

What is the contamination?

  •   What chemical is it?
  •   Where did the contamination come from?

What is the impact?

  •   How bad is the contamination for human health?
  •   How deep is the groundwater contamination underground?
  •   Is there potential vapor intrusion?
  •   Is there known soil, surface water or sediment contamination?

What is being done about it?

  • What actions are being taken at the site (i.e. treatment, monitoring, controlled access/use)?
  • Is the groundwater in the area used for drinking water?
  • If the groundwater is used for drinking, how is the water being treated?

Data download

The data download menu will allow users to download all of the data used to make the map.

Project timeline

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.

LCCMR project status

Project scope

There are almost 100 active Superfund sites that are part of this project. Groundwater contamination at each of the contaminated sites is monitored using a network of monitoring wells. Groundwater samples are collected from each well and taken to a lab for analysis. The frequency of sampling and the contamination that the lab tests for varies from project to project.

Sampling data will be loaded into EQuIS. EQuIS stores various information about these sites including monitoring locations, chemical test results, characteristics of the underground geology, and field notes/observations.

Progress reports

News

Feedback

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.pca@state.mn.us.

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.