Groundwater monitoring

Minnesota is fortunate to have an abundance of high quality groundwater resources throughout most of the state. However, in many areas, our groundwater resources are vulnerable to contamination. In these areas, the MPCA and other government agencies are monitoring groundwater to determine impacts from human-related chemicals such nitrate, volatile organic compounds and chloride.

The MPCA has implemented a groundwater quality monitoring plan to assess our groundwater resource in vulnerable aquifers. The focus of our work will be in Quaternary Water Table aquifers located throughout the state and the Prairie du Chien, Jordan and Galena aquifers located in the Twins Cities Metro area and southeastern Minnesota.

Figure 1. Vulnerable Aquifers

We sample a network of domestic drinking water wells to identify the quality of the water being used for domestic consumption. The network consists of approximately 10,000 wells located in non-agricultural areas overlying vulnerable aquifers. From this candidate pool, we annually select wells for sampling.

A second network consisting of shallow monitoring wells augments the domestic well network. The monitoring well network is an early warning system designed to detect contamination as it enters the ground water system. This allows us to identify the sources of the contamination and possibly design and implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to prevent contamination.

Figure 2. Shallow and Deep Monitoring Components


Groundwater data is part of MPCA's Environmental Data Access online application.