The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will collect and analyze water samples from about 90 wells in Washington County this spring. The data are being collected for the Washington County Geologic Atlas, an effort involving the Minnesota Geological Survey and the DNR’s Ecological and Water Resources Division.
DNR staff will contact county residents to request permission for well sampling, which involves collecting a water sample and measuring the depth to water in each well. Tests will profile the general chemical characteristics of area groundwater and will also show approximately how long the water has been underground. Geology, location, well depth and well construction will determine the selection of wells for sampling. Owners of sampled wells will receive a report of the laboratory results for the water sample collected from their well.
Preserving the long-term quality of the region’s surface water and groundwater requires that policymakers have access to accurate information based on sound scientific principles. A county geologic atlas is a valuable tool for county planners, resource managers and other local government staff when making general planning, land use management and water resource protection decisions.
The Minnesota Geological Survey has already published Part A of the atlas, which illustrates details of each county’s geology. In 2019, the DNR will publish the groundwater portion of the atlas (Part B). The Part B reports will include maps and descriptions of the distribution and movement of groundwater, cross sections illustrating groundwater conditions, and the pollution sensitivity of aquifers in the county.
The DNR County Geologic Atlas program is funded in part by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. Funding also comes from the Clean Water Fund, which receives 33 percent of the sales tax revenue from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment approved by voters in November 2008.
A full description of this DNR program and status reports for atlas products is available on the DNR website.