Mt. Simon-Hinckley Aquifer a potential source of water for Minneapolis

Is Minneapolis looking to pump from an aquifer that serves as a water source for Chisago County?

The answer: No, and possibly yes.

At the Nov. 6 Chisago County Board of Commissioners meeting, Commissioner Mike Robinson, who serves on a groundwater supply committee that meets in downtown St. Paul, reported details of the Oct. 23 meeting of that group.

He said Minneapolis might be looking to drill for groundwater in areas away from the Mississippi River, the city’s water source.

“The part that bothers me is they have a plan for this drill, and if they don’t get enough water, they’re going to go deeper, which will end up being in the Mt. Simon-Hinckley Aquifer, which is kind of our water,” Robinson said at the County Board meeting.

It’s true that Minneapolis could be looking at the Mt. Simon-Hinckley Aquifer as a drinking water source, but the possibility of the city drawing water from the aquifer is minimal.

Casper Hill, city of Minneapolis communications specialist, said Minneapolis is not running out of water, nor has it ever had a major problem supplying its residents with drinking water because “The Mississippi River has proven to be pretty drought resistant.”

He explained the city is simply researching where it could get well water if the water in the Mississippi were to become compromised for a time, say, for instance, if there were an accident on the river that led to pollution that the city’s water-filtering system could not remedy.

“The city supplies drinking water to 500,000 people a day,” he said.

He also noted the Mt. Simon-Hinckley aquifer is deeper than other aquifers the city might look at, meaning the city would rather use shallower aquifers first if they serve as an adequate backup water supply.

“It’s not our first choice,” Hill said. “There would be more expenses to pump water from it.”

Hill also explained no preliminary borings are currently being performed on aquifers to determine if they would meet the city’s water needs in an emergency situation.

“We’re in the middle of a feasibility study right now,” he said.

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