Groundwater in Minnesota continues to show signs of pollution

- This may sound like a boring topic, but may be one of the most important subjects in our lives.  That’s because everyone and everything needs water.  And in Minnesota, the majority of our drinking water comes from groundwater.  Under normal circumstances, groundwater is very easily contaminated; from pesticides to fertilizers, road salt to organic waste, almost everything we use will contaminate our supply.  This is especially true for Minnesota because our water table is so high.  A high water table simply means that the water in the ground, the stuff we drink, is very close to the surface.  The closer the water is to the surface, the easier it is to become contaminated.  The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency keeps track of these levels year to year and has recently distributed an update on our most finicky natural resource...

For the most part, our current water sources are in reasonable shape.  There are some pollutants found like excess nitrates (from fertilizers and farming) to chloride (from road salt used in the winter), but no big surprises to speak of.  However, we are understanding that it can take a LOT more regulation to keep waters clean than we otherwise thought, especially in drought years when our water table decreases and therefore we find higher concentrations of all of these pollutants.

What’s also of particular note is the image at the very top of this article.  It shows the overall groundwater nationwide as it compares to the 20th century average.  Despite the recent heavy rains, there are still some pretty decent deficits in the central and western portion of the state.  This is because groundwater takes a while to soak in and therefore can take a while and several large rain events to replenish.  Furthermore, quick heavy doses of rain don’t typically replenish a lot of groundwater because the water runs off into waterways before it can be soaked into the ground.

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