Source Water Protection Requirements and Recommendations for Public Water Suppliers - EH: Minnesota Department of Health

Requirements and Recommendations for Public Water Suppliers
Source Water Protection

MDH tailors source water protection requirements and recommendations for public water suppliers (PWS). The intent is that source water protection is doable and meaningful for all communities. Considerations include the population served, regulatory protections in place, and natural protections offered by the geology and soils.

Type of public water supplier Inner Wellhead Management Zone (IWMZ) Wellhead Protection Plan Surface Water Intake Plan
Community (Groundwater) Required Required Not Applicable
Nontransient Noncommunity (Groundwater) Required Required Not Applicable
Transient Noncommunity (Groundwater) Required Recommended Not Applicable
Community (Surface Water) Not Applicable Not Applicable Recommended

All PWS supplying groundwater must manage the land adjacent to their wells. The 200 foot radius around the well is the Inner Wellhead Management Zone (IWMZ). MDH conducts a IWMZ survey with public water suppliers during the wellhead protection planning process (for community systems) or during a sanitary survey (for noncommunity systems). The results of the survey are in the wellhead protection plan or the sanitary survey. Public water suppliers who have had a IWMZ survey conducted must:

  • Maintain the isolation distances defined in the state Well Code (Minnesota Rules, Chapter 4725) for proposed potential sources of contamination.
  • Monitor existing potential sources of contamination that do not comply with the isolation distances defined in the state Well Code.
  • Implement wellhead protection measures for potential contaminant sources in the Inner Wellhead Management Zone.
MDH will contact a PWS when staff are ready to start the planning process or amend a plan. MDH provides plan development assistance for all PWS in the wellhead protection program. Assistance varies depending on the size and type of the PWS. The basic requirements of developing and implementing a wellhead protection plan are:

New Municipal Well Form (PDF): All public water suppliers (or their consultants) must submit a preliminary delineation of the wellhead protection area for any proposed new municipal well and an assessment of the impacts that existing land and water uses located within this area may have on the aquifer serving the well. These requirements are part of These requirements are part of plan review for wells.

Determination of Aquifer Properties and Aquifer Test Plan (DAP-ATP) Form (PDF): Community and nontransient noncommunity public water suppliers (or their consultants) delineating a Wellhead Protection Area (WHPA) must submit existing data on the aquifer or a plan to collect the data with an aquifer test prior to delineating the WHPA. The Aquifer Test Information Form may be helpful for documenting basic information during an aquifer test.

PWS supplying surface water should consider developing surface water intake protection plans. Surface water intake protection plans are not required by law, but some PWS in Minnesota have developed voluntary plans to protect their drinking water source. Other PWS supplying surface water have expressed interest in developing plans.

MDH is currently updating the framework in consultation with PWS and other stakeholders. The goal is to make resources more available to PWS who want to develop plans.

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Updated Friday, 23-Sep-2022 11:39:02 CDT