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Saturday, November 01, 2014

Woodbury's Water Source

Water source

Woodbury’s water source for domestic consumption is the Jordan aquifer. An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing soil or rock that yields significant amounts of water to wells. Aquifers must be both permeable (allowing water to flow through) and porous (able to absorb) and typically include rock types of sandstone (Jordan aquifer), fractured limestone and sand and gravel. Woodbury currently operates 17 production wells and is in the process of constructing an 18th. Each well is about 400 to 500 feet deep. During construction, a cavity is blasted to create an open space in the rock at the bottom of the well. We then draw our drinking water from the water that seeps or moves through the rock to this cavity. Water in the Jordan aquifer has spent many decades flowing through soil and rock layers to reach our wells. During that period, organisms that might be harmful have died and have been filtered out by the soil and rock layers.

As water moves through the soil and rock, it dissolves some of the minerals. One of those minerals is calcium. Calcium is the major contributor to the hardness in Woodbury's water. Hardness is the measure of dissolved minerals that are in the water. The hardness of the water in Woodbury is approximately 13.5 grains. This is considered medium hard.

Woodbury is fortunate to have a clean, safe, and good water source; however, the City of Woodbury does take additional steps to comply with the Minnesota Department of Health rules. The city regularly samples the water from its wells and provides an annual Water Quality Report to residents. Fluoride is added to the water to allow bodies to build stronger bones and teeth. Chlorine is also added to the water. Chlorine is a disinfectant and assures that no harmful bacteria or organisms can grow in the system and protects the water if any biological contaminants were to find their way into our water. The City of Woodbury operates very precise equipment to add these items to the water and tests the water daily to assure the right amounts of chlorine and fluoride are present throughout the water system. The state requires cities to have 1.2 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water and have a detectable chlorine residual at the farthest points in the system.

On average, the City of Woodbury wells produce about 7.7 million gallons of water a day. The amount of water produced varies greatly depending on the demand. In the winter, wells produce about 4.4 million gallons of water per day. In the summer, all 17 wells are needed to meet demand and can pump up to 27 million gallons per day. More than 5300 valves, 2800 fire hydrants and nearly 280 miles of water main are required to provide water for home, business and emergency use.

The Water Utility Division is funded through charges to Woodbury property owners connected to the City’s potable water system. These funds are used for the maintenance, operation and management of the City’s water supply, storage, and distribution system.

Wellhead Protection Plan

The City of Woodbury’s Wellhead Protection Plan is designed to protect the groundwater aquifers that supply the Woodbury municipal drinking water wells. Wellhead protection is a way to prevent drinking water from becoming polluted by identifying potential sources of contamination in the area which supplies water to a public well and managing the identified potential sources of contamination. Potential sources of pollution can include:

  • Abandoned wells that haven’t been properly sealed.
  • Poorly-maintained septic systems.
  • Improper disposal of household hazardous wastes.
  • Overuse of fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Leaking storage tanks.
  • Unreported spills and illegal dumping.
  • Contaminated stormwater runoff.

The ultimate goal of this plan is help ensure that Woodbury continues to provide its residents with a safe and abundant supply of clean drinking water for generations to come. See the city's Water Quality Report.

The City of Woodbury has a Minnesota Department of Health approved two-part Wellhead Protection Plan. Part I of the plan delineates the wellhead protection area and drinking water supply management area. Additionally, under part I of the plan, an assessment is completed on Woodbury wells and their vulnerability to impacts. Part II of the plan includes the development of the Wellhead Protection Plan itself. The plan includes goals, objectives, plan of action, an evaluation program and a contingency plan.

The City of Woodbury is updating its existing Wellhead Protection Plan reflecting additional available data, including three new wells. Woodbury’s fully updated and Minnesota Department of Health approved plan will be completed and available for online viewing in 2015. A public information meeting was held on Jan. 14, 2014, to provide citizens the opportunity to comment on Part 1 of the city's proposed update to its Wellhead Protection Plan.

Public information presentation for the recent Minnesota Department of Health approved Part 1 Update icon-acrobat(680 KB)

 The Wellhead Protection Plan and the protection of our groundwater resource can be successful only if residents help. To assist the city implement its plan, you can do the following:

  • Help identify land uses and potential sources of contamination on your property (wells, tanks, septic systems, hazardous wastes, etc.).
  • Make sure any potential sources of contamination under your control meet local, state, and federal regulations. Click on the following for information on Septic Systems and the Abandoned Well Sealing Cost Share Programs.
  • Use hazardous products only as directed and dispose of them properly when no longer needed. Visit the Washington County website for information on handling and disposal of wastes, including information on waste collection at the Environmental Center.
  • Practice proper turf management techniques and avoid over-fertilization of your lawns and gardens. Visit the Minnesota Department of Agricultural website for more information.
  • Seal any unused wells on your property, according to Minnesota Well Code. See the Minnesota Department of Health website and Abandoned Well Sealing Cost Share Programs for more information. Owners of active wells should refer to the Well Owner’s Handbook for proper construction, maintenance, and sampling information.
  • Conserve water whenever possible. Lawn watering is one of the largest uses of municipal water during the summer months. Tips for conserving water, while maintaining a healthy lawn, are included on the Watering Tips page.
  • Report spills (or illegal dumping) of hazardous wastes, fuels, or chemicals to law enforcement.

The City of Woodbury’s Minnesota Department of Health approved Wellhead Protection Plan was completed in 2005. Following Minnesota Department of Health rules, the City of Woodbury is currently updating the 2005 Wellhead Protection Plan reflecting additional available data including three new wells since completion of the 2005 plan. Woodbury’s updated two part plan will be completed and available for online viewing in 2015.



 If you wish to view a copy of the current Minnesota Department of Health approved Wellhead Protection Plan, contact Jim Westerman, environmental resource specialist, at (651) 714-3593.