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Minnesota lawmakers to propose state assistance to test, treat rural well water

This year's legislative session will start Tuesday, Feb. 11.

Minnesota News Brief graphic
Minnesota News Brief graphic

ST. PAUL -- Bipartisan legislators are looking to help clean up rural Minnesotans' drinking water come this month's legislative session.

According to a Monday, Feb. 3 news release, state Rep. Jeanne Poppe, D-Austin, and Sen. Bill Weber, R-Luverne, are planning to introduce a bill opening state funds to assist Minnesotans in voluntarily testing their private well water for contaminants and assist with remediation if the water is not up to standards.

Poppe said in Monday's news release that, "It shouldn’t matter what zip code you’re in -- every Minnesotan deserves clean drinking water." But currently, Minnesotans with well water are "on their own" for testing and remediation, unlike those who access municipal systems.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health , approximately 1.2 million Minnesotans -- about one-fifth of the state’s population -- drink water through private wells. Contaminants commonly found in rural Minnesota water such as nitrates and naturally occurring arsenic can taint water, the release said.

Lawmakers are working alongside the state Department of Health in drafting the legislation, which would fund a pilot to test the program this year. Poppe said Monday that the funding would come from the DOH, and lawmakers do not yet have a cost estimate for the full program.

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This year's legislative session will start Tuesday, Feb. 11.

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