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Continued: 70,000 private Minnesota wells are in line for nitrate testing

Agriculture officials say relying on landowners to make the right choices will work. Pilot projects have proved that local communities and farmers “want to be part of the solution,” said Greg Buzicky, who headed development of the department’s plan.

“Water quality is an important issue for all of us in agriculture right now,” said Adam Birr, research director for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

The voluntary approach can work, Birr said, “when you get the right people at the table.”

Buzicky said agriculture officials will consider recommendations on how to change the plan, and then submit it to Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson for final approval. In the meantime, they are already testing wells in some communities, including Dakota County, which has serious nitrate contamination in drinking water.

Public hearings on what they find will start in January.


Josephine Marcotty • 612-673-7394

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  • Hastings’ water treatment plant treats for nitrates and is the only municipality in Dakota County doing nitrate removal. Public Works Director Tom Montgomery explained how the system works.

  • Minnesota’s water

    More groundwater and drinking water is contaminated with nitrogen

    Nitrates in water can be lethal to infants and harmful to livestock.

    800,000 tons of nitrogen each year go on Minnesota corn and potato fields. Soybeans naturally add nitrogen to soil.

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