News release: Well sampling planned in Lake County for groundwater atlas

June 27, 2024

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will collect water samples from about 90 wells in Lake County to develop the Groundwater Atlas of Lake County.

The process involves collecting a water sample from an outside spigot or hydrant for laboratory analysis. Dozens of different water components are analyzed to determine the natural chemistry of local aquifers. Participation is voluntary, and well owners will receive a report of the laboratory results at no cost. While sample well locations will appear on atlas maps, contact or ownership information will not be included.

The DNR will soon be contacting selected well owners by mail with a request for permission to sample their wells. Wells are chosen based on geology, location, well depth and well construction. Participation will help hydrologists create county maps and descriptions of groundwater distribution, movement, conditions, and aquifer pollution sensitivity. The atlas and maps will be printed and shared online, and geographic information system files will be available for download.

The groundwater atlases help identify viable drinking water sources, support sustainability, guide well and septic system construction decisions, inform well-head protection efforts for public water supplies, highlight regional recharge and groundwater movement, and assess pollution sensitivity and possible contaminant migration. Neither well sampling nor the atlases are used to regulate individual well owners.

The Groundwater Atlas of Lake County should be completed in 2026. It is Part B of a two-part series. Part A, the geology of Lake County, was completed by the Minnesota Geological Survey in 2022.

The County Atlas Program is funded in part by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.

A description of the program and completed atlas products are available on the DNR website.

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