Implementation begins of plan to protect city’s water

 

Princeton Public Utilities Commission is implementing a plan recently approved by the state to protect the city of Princeton’s water from contamination.

Municipalities are required by federal law to design and implement their plans for Wellhead Protection. The Minnesota Department of Health is the agency that approves the plans for use in the state.

It took about two years for the commission to put its plan together and install seven wellhead-protection signs in the plan’s drinking water supply management area, which goes into Baldwin Township as far south as 315th Avenue.

To prevent the city’s water from contamination, water sources must be managed and the public must be made aware of how to assist, commission manager Connie Wangen said.

“Contamination of drinking water has severe consequences as water is a limited resource and, even more important, a facet to humans as an everyday necessity,” the commission put out in a written statement. “The water we have now will be the water we have 100 plus years from now and forever.”

Wangen also provided facts on the regulation of Class V injection wells. Those are typically shallow disposal systems used to place a variety of fluids below the land surface. Such systems are located below motor vehicle repair facilities or are large-capacity cesspools, stormwater drainage wells, aquifer remediation wells and large-capacity septic systems.

According to the Department of Health, new large-capacity cesspools and new motor vehicle waste disposal wells were banned after 2000, and existing large-capacity cesspools must be closed by 2005. Existing motor vehicle waste disposal wells are banned in approved wellhead protection areas.

However, the United States Environmental Protection Agency may allow owners and operators of them to seek a waiver from the ban and obtain a permit.

The EPA is required to inventory large-capacity on-site septic systems.

Princeton’s water use

Princeton uses an average of 540,000 gallons of “fresh, clean water per day,” according to the commission.

“On a hot summer day, this quantity increases to over 1 million gallons due to increased use for lawn sprinkling.

“At Princeton Public Utilities, it’s our business to provide for your water needs. We take our responsibility seriously, but it’s really a responsibility we all share. Although water is easily accessible, as easy as turning on a faucet, it is still a finite resource that shouldn’t be wasted. You can help us take good care of Princeton’s water supply by conscientiously managing your own water usage.”

The wellhead protection plan was a factor behind the city’s push that began a year or so ago to make sure any city resident that has reasonable access to a city water main must hook up to it.

Water conservation tips

The commission offers these tips for conserving water:

• Don’t run water continuously for food preparation and dish washing.

• Take showers rather than baths, keep the showers short and replace old showerheads with new low-flow ones.

• Don’t  run water continuously while brushing teeth or shaving.

• Fix leaky faucets and toilets; the smallest drip can waste 20 gallons per day.

• Use a dishwasher or clothes washer only with full loads, and purchase ones designed to use less water.

• Use a broom instead of water to clean walks, patios and driveways.

• Use a sponge and bucket of water to wash a car.

• Instead of running the tap to get cool water, keep a bottle of water in the refrigerator.

For more information on wellhead protection, the commission can be contacted at 763-389-1222.

The commission also has a tab about the wellhead protection plan on the city’s website, www.princetonmn.org.

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