It’s required every 10 years

    The City of Crookston is in the midst up updating its “Wellhead Protection Plan,” which is required every decade by the Minnesota Department of Health, and Public Works Director Pat Kelly says it’s all about putting critical protections in place to ensure safe, high-quality drinking water for Crookston residents.

    The current, two-phase process of updating the protection plan will be completed by 2019, Kelly said. The first phase was approved in July and involved the “technical plan” that tracks groundwater movement and assesses the vulnerability of the City’s wells located several miles east of town.

    “It’s all based on the 10-year travel of a water molecule, which is what you want to protect, the drinking water and the water management area,” Kelly explained. “All in all, it’s about assessing vulnerability and looking at the wells and determining how vulnerable the groundwater supply to each well is.”

    The radioactive isotope of hydrogen known as “tritium” is a measuring point in the assessments, Kelly added. “You can track the levels of tritium in the drinking water,” he said.

    The City has six wells, numbered 1 through 6. Wells 1, 2 and 3, the City’s older wells, are located 13 miles out of town and they are considered vulnerable by the MDH, Kelly said. The newer wells, numbers 4, 5 and 6, are located approximately 21 miles east of town and they are not considered vulnerable, he said.

    Phase two is the “meat and potatoes” of the process of updating the wellhead protection plan, Kelly said, and involves working with consultants and informing the community on ways Crookston’s water supply can be best protected and managed. Existing strategies will be reviewed and modified as needed, or new strategies will be implemented, he said. “We’ll look at what we’ve accomplished (since the last update in 2009) and what we haven’t,” Kelly said.

    Phase two will commence sometime in the next few weeks.

    It’s a critically important process, Kelly said, for obvious reasons.

    “Our drinking water is incredibly important to this community for many reasons, for the community in general, for economic development…it’s just a vital resource,” he said. “We need to make sure we have the best drinking water available to our citizens.”