Austin Utilities recognized for efforts to protect drinking water source

Published 7:03 pm Friday, March 25, 2022

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The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Minnesota Rural Water Association (MRWA) have recognized Austin Utilities for its exceptional efforts to protect community drinking water sources.

Austin Utilities was a finalist for the 2021 Source Water Protection Award in the large systems category from MDH and MRWA.   

Austin Utilities has undertaken significant projects to protect its drinking water supplies. The city wellhead protection team secured grant funding made possible by Clean Water Fund to establish a well sealing program.

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The new program will fund well sealing for approximately 20 private well owners in the Drinking Water Supply Management Area. Austin Utilities also put forth significant effort to seal old municipal wells that were a risk to the drinking water source.

In a letter to the city, MDH Environmental Health Director Tom Hogan commended Austin Utilities. “Through its initiatives and strategic partnerships, Austin Utilities has become a leader and fine example for other communities in the state as they seek to safeguard their sources of drinking water,” Hogan said.

MDH and MRWA work with public water suppliers and other stakeholders to develop and implement protection plans that include efforts to prevent contamination of the drinking water source. Prevention is used as the first step in protecting public health and is increasingly important as Minnesota faces threats to water quality.