The City of Park Rapids, Minnesota Is developing a Long-term Private Well Nitrate Sampling Network For questions about the information, please contact: Scott Burlingame (Park Rapids Wellhead Manager) 218-237-2713 Or Luke Stuewe (MDA Water Quality Advisor) 218-846-7425 A community effort to protect public wells The Residents of Park Rapids rely on groundwater for their drinking water supply. The City owns and operates several wells located within the City. These wells draw water from groundwater aquifers that are recharged with water that soaks into the ground in areas west of the city. The sandy soils in this area and the shallow depth to the groundwater table make this resource particularly vulnerable to contamination from human activities on the land surface. One contaminant that has shown up in the city water supply at increasing levels in nitrate nitrogen. Through a process called “blending”, where water with low nitrate levels is mixed with water containing higher nitrate levels, the city has been able to provide its residents with drinking water at nitrate levels that are safe to drink. However, the current trends in nitrate levels measured in the city wells indicate that this will become increasingly difficult in the future. The City of Park Rapids is working with residents like yourself to establish a LONG-TERM PRIVATE WELL SAMPLING NETWORK to monitor the level of nitrate in the groundwater that could eventually be drawn up into the city wells. The purpose of this network is to collect information that will help us better direct efforts to protect Park Rapids drinking water supply for the future. For this sampling network to be successful we need your assistance. We are asking a select group of homeowners for samples from their private well on a regular basis to collect this important groundwater information. All of the information collected from the private well samples in this network will be shared with each private well owner. Why do wells sometimes become polluted? Wells become polluted when substances that are harmful to human health get into the groundwater. Water from these wells can be dangerous to drink when the level of pollution which can be prevented by wise use of land and chemicals. These actions will also avert the expense of treating polluted water or drilling new wells. Help avoid drinking water contamination by being an environmentally aware citizen. Why are we interested in your well for this network? Your well fits two basic parameters that we were looking for: 1. Your well is located in an area where water soaking into the ground could eventually reach the city wells. 2. Your well is shallow in depth. The Shallow depth of the sampling wells in this network is very important. Shallow wells draw groundwater that has most recently recharged the aquifer. Research has shown that wells drilled deeper into the ground often produce older water that recharged the aquifer many years ago. In this network we want to collect nitrate concentration data from shallow wells to give us the earliest possible indication of areas where high levels of contamination are occurring. This sampling strategy will also allow us to see the most recent impact that changes on the land surface have on groundwater nitrate levels below. What would participation in this network mean for you? At NO COST you will regularly receive the results from our water testing on your well. Collect a water sample on the 15th of the month for six months starting in July 2008 Drop off this sample every 15th of the month at the Park Rapids Public Works Building. Beyond the first six months, the intent is for this sampling to continue on a long term basis. The future frequency of sample collection will depend on the test results from the first six monthly samples. What is Groundwater? Groundwater is the water that fills the small spaces between rock particles (sad, gravel, etc.) or cracks in solid rock. Rain, melting snow, or surface water becomes groundwater by seeping into the ground and filling these spaces. The top of the water-saturated zone is called the “water table”. When water seeps in from the surface and reaches the water table, it begins moving towards points where it can escape, such as wells, rivers, or lakes. An aquifer is any type of geologic material, such as sand or sandstone, which can supply water to wells or springs. Groundwater often comes from within a short distance (a few miles) of a well. How fast groundwater moves depends on how much the well is pumped and what type of rock particles or bedrock it is moving through.
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