The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is the state authority for drinking water. MDH is responsible for assuring the compliance of community water supply systems with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Several programs at MDH work together to ensure safe and adequate drinking water. The Drinking Water Protection program focuses on public water supplies. Minnesota has about 960 community water systems (CWS) that serve around 80% of Minnesota residents. Most systems use groundwater but about one-fourth of the state’s residents drink water from surface water systems. About one-fifth of Minnesota residents drink water that comes from private wells.
Purpose of the Act is to “protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams and to protect groundwater from degradation, by providing authority, direction, and resources to achieve and maintain water quality stands for groundwater and surface waters.” Goals for implementation include identifying impaired waters, submitting TMDLs to EPA in alignment with federal requirements, to evaluate waters, to improve waters that are impaired, and to restore degraded groundwater. The Clean Water Council will apply recommended priorities for funding actions. The Pollution Control Agency provides administrative support for the council with support from other member agencies. The commissioners of natural resources, agriculture, health and the PCA, ED of the Board of Water and Soil Resources, the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota, and the Metropolitan Council shall each appoint one person from their entity to serve as a nonvoting member of the council. Other members include house of representatives (2), senators (2). There are 17 voting members appointed by the governor. The Clean Water Council make recommendations to the governor and legislature regarding how the Clean Water Fund monies should be appropriated. The Clean Water Fund provides grants, loans, and technical assistance to public agencies and others testing waters, identifying impaired waters, developing total maximum daily loads, implementing restoration plans for impaired waters, and evaluating the effectiveness of restoration. The Fund may also provide support to prevent surface waters from becoming impaired, for wastewater and storm water treatment projects, and to prevent degradation of groundwater. 33 percent of the sales tax revenue from the Legacy amendment is allocated to the Clean Water Fund.
The legislation will fund upgrades and repairs for outdated pipes, wells, water treatment plants, and other systems related to safe drinking water in Minnesota, along with funding for flood control and lake and river pollution protection. $302,577,000 in funds include a Wastewater Infrastructure Fund, Point Source Implementation Grants, Water Infrastructure Initiative (increasing the lending capacity of the Clean Water and Drinking Water revolving funds).