FMR advocates call on MN to protect our drinking water!

by Trevor Russell

FMR staff (including, left to right, Amy Kilgore and Kate Clayton) were excited to help prepare and deliver over 200 letters to help protect Minnesota's drinking water. 

Hat’s off to FMR’s advocates

Wednesday, August 15, Friends of the Mississippi River staff hand-delivered 226 comments from FMR advocates calling on the state to implement and improve the state’s proposed Groundwater Protection Rule!

Protecting our drinking water

About 75% of Minnesotans get their drinking water from public and private wells, and many of these wells are susceptible to nitrate contamination from cropland fertilizers, which can make the water unsafe to drink.

How big is this problem? Today, at least 537 public water supply wells across the state have elevated levels of nitrate. About 10% of private wells in vulnerable areas exceed the official health risk limit, including some townships where 30% to 40% or more of private wells unsafe to drink.

The Groundwater Protection Rule

Minnesota's 1989 Groundwater Protection Act directs the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to prevent groundwater pollution from cropland. To implement the act, the state agency brought forward the Groundwater Protection Rule that is currently under review by an administrative law judge.  

What FMR advocates asked for

FMR River Guardians and other advocates asked the judge to direct the state department of agriculture to improve upon the proposed rule by:
• Improving protections for private wells, which are not properly protected by the rule.
• Using the best maps to identify the most vulnerable soils for increased protections.
• Speeding up protections for public wells, so that solutions are put in place before some public well water becomes unsafe to drink.
• Removing newly proposed limitations on the state’s authority protect groundwater.

Thank you to all 226 FMR advocates who spoke up to protect our groundwater! (Naturally, FMR staff also submitted official comments on the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule as well.)

All Minnesotans deserve clean, safe water. We are hopeful that Judge Palmer-Denig will hear our concerns and direct the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to improve the rule before its final adoption.

Next steps

Judge Palmer-Denig is expected to issue a ruling quickly, and the rule is expected to be finalized before the end of Gov. Mark Dayton's term in office.

Didn’t get a chance to comment?

You can make a difference in state water policy by joining the FMR River Guardians.

When the time is right, we'll send you a link to act online quickly, and we'll also be in touch with invitations to occasional special events like River Guardian happy hours.