Viewpoint: Research highlights significance of H2O conservation

March 27, 2017 - Essential Water

The brief answer to this doubt is yes, though it won’t come cheap.

Last year, a Metropolitan Council finished a two-year H2O supply formulation investigate in team-work with 9 cities in Washington County — Bayport, Cottage Grove, Lake Elmo, Newport, Oakdale, Oak Park Heights, Stillwater, St. Paul Park, and Woodbury (Washington County Municipal Water Coalition). The idea was to brand and yield cost estimates for intensity new metropolitan H2O sources to accommodate destiny needs. Currently, 100 percent of a H2O used for drinking, domicile use, irrigation and industrial processes in Washington County comes from groundwater aquifers. The 9 cities participating in a investigate essentially use H2O from a Prairie du Chien-Jordan aquifer, that is pumped around high-capacity wells. Groundwater is naturally clean, requiring small to no diagnosis before use, and is generally cheaper to entrance and discharge than aspect H2O from rivers and lakes.

Already, however, there are signs that groundwater use in Washington County might not be sustainable. In some tools of a county, aquifers are infested by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and nitrates. In other locations, groundwater pumping can impact tide and lake levels. In addition, a sum race of a 9 cities is approaching to grow by 27 percent by 2040.

In a H2O supply study, a metropolitan H2O bloc looked during 4 possibilities for assembly increasing H2O direct in a future: 1) Reusing H2O pumped for wickedness containment on 3M skill in Woodbury and Cottage Grove; 2) Building a H2O diagnosis plant on a Mississippi or St. Croix rivers; 3) Purchasing and piping in H2O from St. Paul Regional Water Supply; or 4) Drilling new wells to entrance some-more groundwater.

Each of these intensity solutions comes with a singular set of challenges. 3M now pumps approximately 3,000 gallons per notation of groundwater from wickedness containment wells on a limit of Woodbury and Cottage Grove. The H2O is treated with granular activated CO to mislay perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) before being used as routine water, and eventually liberated to a Mississippi River. Because a H2O is contaminated, however, it would need costly diagnosis to make it protected for drinking.

Building a H2O diagnosis plant on a St. Croix River or Mississippi River would cost $68 million to $184.9 million, depending on where a plant is located and how many communities it serves. Water fees would operation from $3.70 to $6.20 per 1,000 gallons. It would be comparatively affordable to bond some communities to a St. Paul H2O supply ($4.8 million to offer portions of Woodbury or $13.1 million to offer all of Oakdale) though other communities in a easterly metro might be looking to St. Paul for H2O as well. Delivering H2O from St. Paul to all of Cottage Grove and Woodbury would cost $96 million ($4.23 per 1,000 gallons). The final choice — drilling new wells in Cottage Grove, Woodbury or Denmark Township — would yield a cheapest H2O rate ($1.10 to $1.20 per 1,000 gallons) though would not residence underlying concerns about sketch down a aquifer. A new good margin would cost $25 million to $30.6 million.

The metropolitan H2O supply investigate conducted in Washington County presumes that per capita H2O use will sojourn a same as a race grows. In reality, scarcely 30 percent of a H2O used in a 9 communities any year is for “non-essential” uses, namely irrigation. In fact, as most as half of a stream H2O supply infrastructure in place was built essentially to accommodate rise H2O final during a summer. Reducing a non-essential H2O use by 1.5 billion gallons per year would save communities approximately $3 million annually. New approaches to landscaping, some-more fit irrigation, low upsurge toilets, faucet aerators, and water-efficient appliances are partial of a solution, along with incomparable projects such as reusing stormwater for irrigation and upgrading blurb and industrial comforts in a county.

Learn some-more about because and how to preserve H2O here.

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