Minnesota’s drinking water comes either from surface water (lakes, streams, or rivers) or from groundwater; both integral components of the hydrologic cycle. The City of Hastings provides drinking water to its residents and businesses from a groundwater source, the Jordan aquifer, tapping water from six wells ranging 180 to 400 feet beneath the earth’s surface. Surrounding land use, depth of well, soil characteristics, and infiltration rates within the Drinking Water Supply Management Area (DWSMA) contribute to the speed of an aquifer’s vulnerability to drinking water contamination. The City of Hastings and the Department of Health have produced a Wellhead Protection Plan (WHPP) as a way to prevent drinking water from becoming polluted by managing potential sources of contamination in the area which supplies water to a public well.
Annually, the City of Hastings publishes a Drinking Water Consumer Confidence Report. Although currently within the acceptable standards set by the Minnesota Department of Health, nitrate, a contaminant known to cause “blue baby syndrome” has been detected at certain levels of concentration within the Hastings water system. Much can be done to prevent pollution, such as the wise use of land and chemicals. Public health is protected and expense of treating polluted water or drilling new wells is avoided through wellhead protection.