Crow Wing County will receive grant funds totaling $31,000 from the Clean Water Fund to help landowners seal unused wells.

A well that is not in use or abandoned can be a source of groundwater contamination by providing a potential direct path for surface water runoff, contaminated water or improperly disposed of waste to reach an uncontaminated groundwater source. Unused larger-diameter wells can also be a safety hazard for children and animals.

"Sealing unused wells is one of the most important practices that can be done to protect groundwater resources in Crow Wing County," said Environmental Services Supervisor Jake Frie.

The program will pay for 50% of the cost to properly seal the well, up to a maximum of $1,000 per well. A state-licensed well contractor must conduct the work. All landowners with unused wells are encouraged to apply.

Sealing involves clearing the well of debris and filling the well with grout. Citizens are encouraged to contact a licensed well driller to begin the application process.

Groundwater protection is identified as a priority in the Crow Wing County Water Plan, and most of Crow Wing County's residents rely on groundwater for their source of drinking water. A total of 186 wells have been sealed in Crow Wing County between 2012 and 2018 with previous grants the county has received; 150 of those wells were located in surficial sand aquifers with 103 of them located in the highly vulnerable Pine River Watershed. And, 80% of the sealed wells were within 500 feet of a lake.

Anyone interested in learning more about this grant opportunity or to receive a paper application, contact the Crow Wing County Land Services Department at 218-824-1010 or land.services@crowwing.us.