Minnesota Puts Groundwater Protection Rule into Place

MINNESOTA – Minnesota’s new groundwater protection rule is now in place, designed to help keep nitrates out of drinking water and groundwater.

The rules are part of the state’s overall nitrogen fertilizer management plan. Nitrate is one of the most common contaminants and elevated levels can cause health concerns.

The state ag department will restrict the application of nitrogen fertilizer in the fall, in places that have what’s said to be vulnerable groundwater. In those places, the geology makes it easier for the nitrate from the fertilizer to get into groundwater.

“Agriculture is the backbone of our community. We need to figure out a way to work with ag but when we have health concerns, we need to balance that a little bit. How do we find that balance between the nutrients that we’re putting on the land so we can grow really good crops versus the health of our public?” says Soil and Water Conservation District Manager Justin Hanson.

The second part of the rule deals with areas that already have elevated nitrate levels in the water. Failure to follow the rule would result in education, compliance assistance, and eventually enforcement with civil and criminal penalties.

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