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WATER QUALITY

The Legislature approved $200,000 to investigate petroleum leak sites in Paynesville, Alexandria, Foley and Blaine.
Known as “forever chemicals” for their persistence in the environment, PFAS have been popular with manufacturers for decades and can be found in everything from nonstick cookware coating to fire-extinguishing foam. Higher levels of exposure to PFAS have been linked to increased cancer risk, developmental delays in children, damage to organs such as the liver and thyroid, increased cholesterol levels and reduced immune functions, especially among young children.
Lowell Deede, a retired wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Office, began volunteering for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in 2015, collecting water samples and measuring water clarity.
Decontaminations are available to boaters free of charge, with priority given to boaters who have been referred for decontamination by watercraft inspectors or law enforcement present on area landings.

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The Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation report details the work by local government units, nonprofit groups, citizens and more to conserve natural resources.
Unused larger-diameter wells can also be a safety hazard for children and animals, according to county officials, and well-sealing can prevent injuries as well as protect grandwater.
Drinking water with concentrations of nitrate below 10 milligrams of nitrate per liter of water is considered safe. Crow Wing County offers free nitrate testing.
Proper septic maintenance ensures that groundwater is being protected from human contaminants. Priority of funding will first be given to “low” and “very low-income” landowners, according to county officials.
Fund-backed work targeting Serpent Lake achieved its goal, reversing a downward trend in water quality. The lake is twice as clear as it was 10 years ago. Stormwater projects in Deerwood and Crosby reduce how much phosphorus enters the lake.
The County Board unanimously passed a motion March 22 directing staff to prepare a resolution to place a yearlong moratorium on development within alternative access lots, which provide a route to public water access for parcels that would otherwise be stymied by protected vegetation, wetlands or other critical fish or wildlife habitat. A public hearing on the proposed moratorium is required and is expected to take place at the next board meeting April 12.

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PFAS are a group of more than 5,000 chemicals used in products such as nonstick cookware, fast food wrappers, pizza boxes and cosmetics such as eyeliner and foundation. Increasing evidence suggests they are harmful to humans and the environment.
Minnesota health department and pollution control officials estimate the state will need to spend $12.5 billion over the next 20 years to keep up with waste and drinking water needs.
Watercraft inspections were identified by lake associations and stakeholders as a top priority for aquatic invasive species prevention.

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