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Groundwater Protection

Ramsey County is fortunate to have an adequate supply of groundwater which helps to sustain its potable, industrial, and commercial water use base as well as providing water to our lakes, streams, and wetlands.  

 September 2008 TAC Presentation

Water Pricing in Ramsey County (2008)


The Metropolitan Council gathers information about water supplies across the metro area.  About 80 percent of Ramsey County residents have their water needs met by the St. Paul Regional Water Services (SPRWS).  SPRWS utilizes surface water from the Mississippi River for approximately 93 percent of its needs.  About seven percent of SPRWS’s needs come from groundwater.  Cities that distribute their own water to residents are completely dependent on groundwater for their water supply.  The following table compares prices among water providers, as of 2008.  Annual estimated household costs have been calculated based on an assumed 10,000 gallons per month.


Cities Water Pricing

Learn more about why groundwater protection is important.


Top 10 Reasons to Protect Groundwater:

  1. Storm water and surface water, like lakes and streams, are all connected to groundwater.
  2. Everyone shares the same groundwater resource.
  3. Between 15-20% of Ramsey County residents are completely dependent on groundwater for their drinking water.
  4. Groundwater protection is cheaper than groundwater cleanup.
  5. Today's contaminated groundwater will be in tomorrow's drinking water.
  6. Groundwater is a limited resource that will only become more scarce in the future.
  7. Who doesn't favor clean water?
  8. A valuable resource is worth maintaining.
  9. Planning for groundwater protection raises public awareness of the issue.
  10. If we don't, who will?

What is Groundwater and Why is it Important?

Groundwater is water that is located beneath the earth's surface in soil and geologic materials. Groundwater is stored in and flows through an intricate network of small pores, joints, fractures and solution cavities present in underground geologic sediment and rock formations.

Beneath Ramsey County lies a portion of a large groundwater geologic basin composed of several aquifer units which provide much of the water we use every day.  Water wells are used to extract groundwater from aquifers.  This groundwater is used for drinking, heating and cooling, manufacturing processes, and as the natural recharge for streams, some lakes, and wetlands.  The quality of groundwater is dependent on its natural characteristics and whether any human introduced contaminants have entered the aquifers in which groundwater resides. 

Metropolitan Area Geological Cross-Section

The presence of high quality groundwater and the large quantities of groundwater consumed each year indicate the need to ensure adequate and safe supplies of water the future in order to sustain economic development in Ramsey County. Unfortunately, concerns regarding groundwater quality and quantity usually arise only after an incident has occurred, such as drought or contamination of a well. Protecting groundwater can only be accomplished through well-conceived and coordinated regulatory efforts. Preventing contamination is the focus of this Plan.

Local Interactive Groundwater Links
Met Council - Make a Map
Star Tribune - Do I Live Near a Plume?

Water Well Testing

The Saint Paul – Ramsey County Public Health Laboratory provides well water testing for home and vacation properties.  Water can be tested for bacteria and nitrates. Please call 651-266-1321 or visit well water testing for more information.