Wellhead Protection

Managing Potential Sources of Contamination

The overall goal of Cottage Grove's Wellhead Protection Plan is maintain a clean and abundant supply of water for its residents. One method to achieve this is to educate residents of the importance of protecting the community's water supply.

As part of the Part 2 Wellhead Protection Plan, parcels of land with large quantities of potentially hazardous contamination sources were identified. An example is a business with a storage tank containing gasoline, such as a local gas station, or a business that generates hazardous wastes. Cottage Grove plans on surveying these properties and providing educational materials to these land owners to help ensure that any hazardous substances are properly stored and handled.

Wellhead protection is not just limited to these types of properties, however. All residents should be aware of substances or structures on their properties that may adversely impact the aquifer. The following is a list of some items that homeowners should be aware of:

  1. Groundwater Wells
  2. Class V Injection Wells
  3. Individual Sewage Treatment Systems (Septic Systems)
  4. Household Hazardous Wastes
  5. Lawn Chemicals & Fertilizers

While the wellhead protection program is only required for public water supply wells, individual residential wells are one item that can potentially transmit contamination to the aquifer. If a residential well is poorly constructed, not maintained, or improperly abandoned, that well becomes a potential avenue for contamination to enter the aquifer. All homeowners with their own wells are encouraged to monitor the health of their own well through water quality sampling.

While the City of Cottage Grove does not have the resources to test each residential well for contaminants, the process is relatively inexpensive for property owners and is highly recommended. More information about private well testing is available from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Washington County also has information about well testing and can provide names of a local licensed well contractor.

Well Status

Additionally, Minnesota Well Code states that any private well that is no longer used must either have a permit to be maintained or must be abandoned (sealed) by a licensed well contractor. If your property has a well that is no longer active, the well may be in violation of Minnesota Well Code and may need to be sealed. More information about well sealing is available.

In cases where the property owner has difficulty paying the costs of well sealing, some counties have cost sharing programs to help reduce the financial burden on the well owner. In February 2005, Washington County initiated a cost sharing program to assist well owners in sealing wells. The cost sharing reimburses up to 50% of the well sealing cost. Certain criteria must be met to be eligible for financial assistance.

View more information about Washington County's well sealing cost-sharing. Read the Abandoned Well Grant Brochure (PDF).