The Olmsted, Fillmore, Goodhue, Root River, and Wabasha Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) and Winona County collaborated and formed a new “Tap In” initiative with goals to improve drinking water throughout Southeastern Minnesota. Participating counties and SWCDs received funding through the MN Department of Health Clean Water Fund to assist private well owners with nitrate contamination problems.
To qualify for the funding, applicants must have a water quality test report indicating that their nitrate contamination exceeds the state and federal Health Risk Limit (HRL) of 10 mg/L. The water quality test will be considered valid if the analysis was performed by a certified laboratory within the last 3 years. The private water supply must also be used as a source of potable drinking water for the residence to qualify for financial assistance.
Additional cost share is available for private well owners that meet financial hardship criteria.
For more information on how to apply, please visit the Olmsted County Water Resources website and select the “Available Financial Assistance” tab under the “Private Wells and Groundwater” section. If you have any questions or would like help filling out an application, please contact Caitlin Brady at firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Nitrate?
Nitrate is a compound that naturally forms when nitrogen combines with oxygen or ozone. While nitrogen is essential for all living things, high nitrate levels (10mg/L) in drinking water could pose harmful risks, especially to infants and pregnant women.
Nitrate can occur naturally in surface and groundwater without causing health problems. However, high nitrate levels in well water often result from improper well construction and location. Improper disposal of human and animal waste or the overuse of chemical fertilizers can further increase nitrate levels. Sources of nitrate that can enter your well include fertilizers, septic systems, animal feedlots, industrial waste, and food processing waste. After flooding, wells could become more vulnerable to contamination, especially if the wells are shallow, poorly constructed, dug or bored, or submerged by floodwater for long periods.