New report shows Minnesota's drinking water systems are resilient but face challenges
Vast majority of public systems met drinking water standards despite challenges
May 9, 2023
A new drinking water report from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) shows that while some areas of the state face challenges including quantity, quality and aging infrastructure, the vast majority of public water systems have met all the regulations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The report also shows nearly 98% of Minnesotans who get their drinking water from a community public water system received water that met all federal health-based standards throughout the year.
The latest annual drinking water report assesses how well public water supply systems are doing at meeting the standards set in the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Results of monitoring by MDH engineers and public health sanitarians indicate that drinking water is generally in good shape in Minnesota’s 6,649 public water systems.
Release of the Minnesota Drinking Water Annual Report for 2022 (PDF) comes in conjunction with Gov. Tim Walz declaring May 7-13 as Safe Drinking Water Week in Minnesota, a time when water professionals and the communities they serve jointly recognize the vital role water plays in people’s daily lives.
“The health of our drinking water sources is interconnected with the health of our communities, environment and climate,” Governor Walz said in his proclamation for Safe Drinking Water Week. “Protection of drinking water sources is achieved through collective action, collaboration and partnerships.”
Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Brooke Cunningham emphasized the value of partnerships. “Providing reliable and safe drinking water to homes and businesses is the result of hard work and extensive partnerships,” Commissioner Cunningham said. “Thanks to these partnerships, even in times like COVID-19, we can still go to our home faucets and expect to have plenty of safe water.”
The annual report also includes brief discussions of key initiatives such as:
• Efforts to identify and address new contaminants, such as PFAS, that could affect drinking water quality.
• Ongoing measures to protect users of public water systems from lead contamination in homes, schools and child care facilities.
• Infrastructure needs, particularly with regard to funding the replacement of lead service lines.
• Resiliency in dealing with severe weather events brought on by climate change.
• Health equity and affordable water as a human right.
According to the report, only rare contamination problems occurred in 2022 in Minnesota’s 964 community water systems (including 730 city water systems) and the state’s 5,685 noncommunity systems, which serve water to people in places other than their homes, such as factories, schools and resorts. Those problems and what was or is being done to address them are noted in the report.
In addition to the report issued by the state, communities across Minnesota are required to issue their Consumer Confidence Reports to their public water supply customers by July 1 each year. Those reports provide summary details on the results of monitoring for each public water system.
More information about programs and resources to keep drinking water safe in Minnesota, along with Gov. Walz’s proclamation for Safe Drinking Water Week, can be found on the Drinking Water Protection page of the MDH website.