Contaminated well water


From: Kaye and
John Huelskamp

Oh no, here we go again. In 2005 we lost our right to clean air when a “state-of-the-art/no odor” hog confinement facility was built a half-mile west of our home. The stench of fermenting hog manure (hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, methane, etc.) that emanates from the building has had a major impact on our quality of life. Now we have also lost our right to clean water.

We are in the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) yearly township well-testing program. Several weeks ago we received a call from the MDA telling us to not drink our water — our well is contaminated with nitrates and seven different agricultural pesticides, not by deer or coyotes peeing in a creek, which is Winona County Commissioner Marcia Ward’s theory. The MDA told us to drink bottled water until we could have a reverse-osmosis system with an activated carbon/charcoal filter installed. The MDA said they were forwarding our well results to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to be analyzed. The MDH would then let us know what health issues (kidney, liver, thyroid) we could expect to face in the future.

This has been our home for almost 40 years. We do not use chemicals — agricultural, lawn or otherwise — on our land. Our well is not an anomaly; it is an example of what is happening in rural wells throughout Winona County and Minnesota. What will it take for our county and state officials to wake up and understand we DO NOT have an infinite clean water supply? When we can no longer drink our water or breathe our air, then what?


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