Pine River: City prepares for 10-year wellhead update

Testing reveals contaminants from long closed golf course

The Pine River Council met as usual at its regular council meeting Aug. 10. Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

The city of Pine River is due to update its 10-year wellhead protection plan in January. At the city council's Tuesday, Aug. 10, regular meeting, Minnesota Department of Health hydrologist Chris Parthun gave a wellhead protection summary update via telephone.

Wellhead protection is a way to prevent the public drinking water supply from becoming polluted by managing potential sources of contamination in the areas that supply water to the public wells. Wellhead protection plans must be reviewed and amended every 10 years.

Parthun provided the council with maps and data showing the range of the current wellhead protection plan and the results of water quality tests done in the city. The summary included findings that the city's well water is considered young, because it contains isotopes and compounds that were introduced to the atmosphere globally during 1950s atom bomb testing..

Young water is a sign that the soil types in the area do not contain a dense layer of clay material that can slow water and filter it as it soaks into the water table. Not having a significant clay layer means the city's wellheads could be sensitive to pollutants.

A small amount of pollutants common in fertilizer was found in some of the city's wellhead protection area. Because of the rate that it has broken down and biodegraded, Parthun said it appears likely to be an old application of commercial fertilizer rather than coming from human or animal waste products.


Reviewing the properties within the wellhead protection area, Parthun said they are looking at the former city golf course as a possible source of the contaminants. This type of contaminant is common to golf courses and properties formerly used as golf courses.

Parthun said there are possible plans to install a testing well near that section of the wellhead protection area to better pinpoint the source and track the flow and amount of contaminants.

Additional information and plans will likely be developed closer to the January update.

In other business Aug. 10, the council:

  • Awarded a contract for installation of the rock riffle dam starting in October to Landwehr Construction at $2,223,321.11.
  • Approved a street closure Friday, Aug. 26, for the Jumpin' Jehosafats concert at the Methodist church.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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