Feb 07, 2022

Minnesota Neighborhood Discovers Contaminated Well Water

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is still in the process of identifying the source of the contamination. 

drinking water

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is recommending that a portion of an Andover neighborhood where there is contaminated well water be connected to the city's municipal water system.

According to The Star Tribune, the recommendation occurred during a virtual meeting after the agency found high levels of the chemical 1,4-dioxane in private wells in the Red Oaks neighborhood.

Original sampling in the summer of 2021 showed approximately 40 wells are dealing with this issue. Concentrations of dioxane exceeded the Minnesota Department of Health's values for safe drinking water, reported The Star Tribune. One well tested at 2,200 times the value. 

Recent resampling of the wells showed no changes to the original results, according to the MPCA, reported The Star Tribune.

The neighborhood is on the city sewer system, but is not on the water system. Homes to the west of Quinn Street and north of 139th Avenue did not have chemical levels that exceeded Health Department guidelines, so wells there will only be tested once or twice this year. 

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The MPCA revealed that the groundwater is contaminated with the chemical because of the historical use and disposal of chlorinated solvents. 

"Connecting impacted residents to Andover's municipal drinking water system will eliminate the pathway to exposure and ensure a suitable long-term drinking water source," said the agency during the virtual meeting, reported The Star Tribune.

Gov. Tim Walz has proposed that $12 million be included in a bonding bill, which will be used to bring city water to homes in the affected area and seal impacted wells. Additionally, under this bill, there would be no cost to homeowners to hook into the city water system, reported The Star Tribune.

"We are working with the MPCA to bring water to the area," said Andover City Administrator Jim Dickinson, reported The Star Tribune. "We are trying to get this thing solved."

The MPCA is still in the process of identifying the source of the contamination. 

Red Oaks neighborhood is near the Waste Disposal Engineering Landfill which was declared a defunct landfill in 2019 and is now managed by the MPCA, reported The Star Tribune. 

The MPCA will monitor wells at the closed landfill as part of the ongoing groundwater investigation as well.

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