The work to support groundwater

Preventing groundwater contamination and practicing water conservation are important to protecting one of Minnesota’s most critical resources. The tactics used to improve water quality include state and local government programs, conservation practices by businesses, residents, and local governments, and remediation of groundwater contaminated by leaks, spills, or dumping of hazardous material.

PDF icon Groundwater Protection Recommendations (lrwq-gw-1sy16)

Groundwater remediation

When pollutants such as petroleum, industrial chemicals, or fluid leaching from landfills gets into the ground, they can contaminate groundwater. The MPCA is working to remediate, or remedy, groundwater contamination at many sites around the state. Remediation takes several forms, depending on the contaminant, the geology of the site, and how the contamination threatens nearby water resources. One method involves pumping groundwater out of the ground, treating it, and then returning it to the ground or to a lake or river. This pump and treat method is being used at the PDF icon New Brighton/Arden Hills Superfund site to remove trichloroethylene from the water and protect municipal water supplies. Another method pumps air into groundwater to aerate and expel volatile compounds. These are just two examples of the technologies the MPCA uses to remedy groundwater contamination.

Illustration of oxygen injection remediation wells placed in ground of remediation site

Injecting air into groundwater is one method of groundwater remediation.

Partners in protection

Several state agencies, including the MPCA, share in the responsibility to protect groundwater.

Hugo’s conservation efforts

Sprinkler watering green golf course

The City of Hugo, Minn., has built stormwater reuse, irrigation, and infiltration systems to reduce the amount of groundwater pumped by the city and provide enhanced stormwater treatment. The projects  conserve millions of gallons of groundwater from wells each year in the city. Hugo is also considering measures such as landscaping ordinances that encourage use of more drought-tolerant vegetation, and adjusting water rates to promote conservation. Learn more.

Promoting proper nitrogen management

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture partnered with the East Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District to present workshops and expand programs that promote proper use of nitrogen to protect groundwater. Topics covered in the workshops included nitrogen management on sandy soils, irrigation water management, and nitrogen concerns related to groundwater.