The Bemidji Pioneer: Lawmakers discuss tighter regulations for private water wells

EXCERPT: “Public water systems in rural Minnesota may be weighing costly upgrades, University of Minnesota researchers told state lawmakers Wednesday, July 15, but private wells are creating issues of their own that regulators currently have no way to address. With agriculture and industry already posing contamination threats to drinking water sources in the state, they said, water treatment will only become more expensive in rural parts of the state where extreme weather events caused by climate change can wreak havoc on aging infrastructure. Yet private wells may avoid scrutiny due to their being somewhat outside of the Minnesota Department of Health’s regulatory scope. ‘Quite frankly, it’s generally ignored because private well owners, for various reasons, are not good at managing their own water supplies,’ professor Peter Calow of UMN’s school of public affairs said during a legislative committee hearing Wednesday. About 21% of Minnesotans drink from private wells, or roughly 1.2 million people, according to the state health department. And while the health department does have a say in where new wells are sited, Calow told the Minnesota Legislature’s joint-subcommittee on water policy that its handling of private well water quality monitoring has been lackluster.” FULL STORY: