Bluestem explored Brown County Farm Bureau activist Harley Vogel's letter to the New Ulm Journal in our post, Blame bison for dirty water, not farmers, Farm Bureau Honorary Life Member tells NUJournal.
Mr. Vogel, in his letter opposing Brown County water testing, is misinformed about groundwater and about what sampling our drinking water will reveal about local aquifers. Vogel is also mistaken because the families want to know about the quality of their drinking water.
The Brown County Geologic Atlas was just completed in 2016. The new geologic maps can be found online. This new information might change the opinion of the County Board about the benefit of free water testing.
The new Brown County mapping shows the areas where groundwater is rare, and shows where it is abundant. The maps also show the areas subject to contamination risks. The nitrate testing would tell us if is too late to protect this precious resource.
The new maps shows that Brown County has many buried valley aquifers filled with sand and gravel. Here hydrologists believe that the aquifers are rapidly recharged. We believe the groundwater in Central Brown is at a higher risk of contamination. People living in the area south of Sleepy Eye use these sand aquifers for their drinking water and should have their wells tested…for FREE.
Now that the groundwater recharge area is known professionals are advising frequent nitrate testing for drinking water wells, especially if there are infants in the homes. The water sampling could tell whether children and families are at risk from their own drinking water.
Individual test data would be private and free. If nitrates are found, officials might propose bottled water or treated water for at-risk children. If nitrates are still low, Ag service providers could design cropping systems to help reduce nitrate contamination risks. There are positive things that can be done to protect, enhance and restore our drinking water.
Information will give us the knowledge. For our drinking water we need to make the right decisions to allow us to protect, enhance, and restore the aquifers that we rely on for our drinking water.
Jeffrey S. Broberg
Mn Licensed Professional Geologist #30019
Vice President, Minnesota Well Owners Organization (MnWOO)
Broberg just finished a stint as co-chair of the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). His bio:
Jeff Broberg of Elba Township, is a Licensed Professional Geologist and Vice President of McGhie & Betts Environmental Services, Inc., a Rochester-based environmental consulting firm. Jeff formerly practiced as a petroleum geologist in South Louisiana for 9 years before returning to Minnesota in 1986 to own a farm and breed and raise thoroughbred racehorses in the Whitewater Watershed. Joining McGhie & Betts in 1990 Jeff's professional consulting practice is focused on geological and environmental assessment, permitting and regulatory affairs including geologic hazards, wetlands, soil and groundwater contamination, asbestos and mold. He currently serves on the Winona County Planning Commission, is the President of the Minnesota Trout Association, and has served on Whitewater Watershed Project citizen Advisory Committee, the DNR Budget Oversight and the Trout and Salmon Stamp Oversight Committees and is active in natural resource and conservation efforts in the bluff lands and ag-lands of SE Minnesota. Broberg will serve a term which ends January 1, 2018. Appointed by the House of Representatives.
Check out Brown County Geologic Atlas. It's a series of pdfs, or we'd embed it here.
Moment of Minnesota Capitol Zen: Under its "Board of Directors" tab, the Minnesota Well Owners Organization's website notes that the group's lobbyist is Bruce Kleven. Mr. Kleven also represents the Minnesota Corn Growers Association; the Brown County Corn and Soybean Growers Association leadership is against the well testing program.
We usually follow the money and sometimes it leads us to the same place, but not usually on both sides.
Bluestem first posted about the Brown County well testing revolt on December 20 in Nitrates: Brown Co turns down MDA well testing aid because somebody might blame farmers. Another post about this issue: An enemy of the people; or, agriculture as usual: Strib editorial dings Brown Co commissioners.
Photo: Brown County's Board of Commissioners. Never mind the possibility for a blue baby here and there.
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