Florence 2019 Drinking Water Report

This report contains important information about your drinking water. Have someone translate it for you, or speak with someone who understands it.

Información importante. Si no la entiende, haga que alguien se la traduzca ahora.

Making Safe Drinking Water
Your drinking water comes from a groundwater source: purchased water from Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water System.

Florence works hard to provide you with safe and reliable drinking water that meets federal and state water quality requirements. The purpose of this report is to provide you with information on your drinking water and how to protect our precious water resources.

Contact Diana Slyter, Water Operator, at (507)8200902 or dianaslyter@gmail.com if you have questions about Florence’s drinking water. You can also ask for information about how you can take part in decisions that may affect water quality.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets safe drinking water standards. These standards limit the amounts of specific contaminants allowed in drinking water. This ensures that tap water is safe to drink for most people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the amount of certain contaminants in bottled water. Bottled water must provide the same public health protection as public tap water.

Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 18004264791.

Florence Monitoring Results
This report contains our monitoring results from January 1 to December 31, 2019.

We work with the Minnesota Department of Health to test drinking water for more than 100 contaminants. It is not unusual to detect contaminants in small amounts. No water supply is ever completely free of contaminants. Drinking water standards protect Minnesotans from substances that may be harmful to their health.

Learn more by visiting the Minnesota Department of Health’s webpage Basics of Monitoring and testing of Drinking Water in Minnesota (https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/factsheet/sampling.html).

How to Read the Water Quality Data Tables
The tables below show the contaminants we found last year or the most recent time we sampled for that contaminant. They also show the levels of those contaminants and the Environmental Protection Agency’s limits. Substances that we tested for but did not find are not included in the tables.

We sample for some contaminants less than once a year because their levels in water are not expected to change from year to year. If we found any of these contaminants the last time we sampled for them, we included them in the tables below with the detection date.

We may have done additional monitoring for contaminants that are not included in the Safe Drinking Water Act. To request a copy of these results, call the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-4700 or 1-800-818-9318 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

AL (Action Level): The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.
EPA: Environmental Protection Agency
MCL (Maximum contaminant level): The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.
MCLG (Maximum contaminant level goal): The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.
MRDL (Maximum residual disinfectant level): The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.
MRDLG (Maximum residual disinfectant level goal): The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.
N/A (Not applicable): Does not apply.
ppb (parts per billion): One part per billion in water is like one drop in one billion drops of water, or about one drop in a swimming pool. ppb is the same as micrograms per liter (μg/l).
ppm (parts per million): One part per million is like one drop in one million drops of water, or about one cup in a swimming pool. ppm is the same as milligrams per liter (mg/l).
PWSID: Public water system identification.
Monitoring Results – Regulated Substances

LEAD AND COPPER – Tested at customer taps.

Contaminant (Date, if sampled in previous year) EPA’s Ideal Goal (MCLG) EPA’s Action Level 90% of Results Were Less Than Number of Homes with High Levels Violation Typical Sources

Lead (12/05/17) 0 ppb 90% of homes less than 15 ppb 1.57 ppb 0 out of 4 NO Corrosion of household plumbing.

Copper (12/05/17) 0 ppm 90% of homes less than 1.3 ppm 0.22 ppm 0 out of 4 NO Corrosion of household plumbing.


Substance (Date, if sampled in previous year) EPA’s Ideal Goal (MCLG or MRDLG) EPA’s Limit (MCL or MRDL) Highest Average or Highest Single Test Result Range of Detected Test Results Violation Typical Sources

Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) N/A 80 ppb 10.9 ppb N/A NO By-product of drinking water disinfection.

Total Haloacetic Acids (HAA) N/A 60 ppb 4.5 ppb N/A NO By-product of drinking water disinfection.

Total Chlorine 4.0 ppm 4.0 ppm 0.55 ppm N/A NO Water additive used to control microbes.

Total HAA refers to HAA5

Some People Are More Vulnerable to Contaminants in Drinking Water
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. The developing fetus and therefore pregnant women may also be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water. These people or their caregivers should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 18004264791.

Learn More about Your Drinking Water

Drinking Water Sources
Minnesota’s primary drinking water sources are groundwater and surface water. Groundwater is the water found in aquifers beneath the surface of the land. Groundwater supplies 75 percent of Minnesota’s drinking water. Surface water is the water in lakes, rivers, and streams above the surface of the land. Surface water supplies 25 percent of Minnesota’s drinking water.

Contaminants can get in drinking water sources from the natural environment and from people’s daily activities. There are five main types of contaminants in drinking water sources.

Microbial contaminants, such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Sources include sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, pets, and wildlife.
Inorganic contaminants include salts and metals from natural sources (e.g. rock and soil), oil and gas production, mining and farming operations, urban stormwater runoff, and wastewater discharges.
Pesticides and herbicides are chemicals used to reduce or kill unwanted plants and pests. Sources include agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and commercial and residential properties.
Organic chemical contaminants include synthetic and volatile organic compounds. Sources include industrial processes and petroleum production, gas stations, urban stormwater runoff, and septic systems.
Radioactive contaminants such as radium, thorium, and uranium isotopes come from natural sources (e.g. radon gas from soils and rock), mining operations, and oil and gas production.
The Minnesota Department of Health provides information about your drinking water source(s) in a source water assessment, including:

How Florence is protecting your drinking water source(s);
Nearby threats to your drinking water sources;
How easily water and pollution can move from the surface of the land into drinking water sources, based on natural geology and the way wells are constructed.
Find your source water assessment at Source Water Assessments (https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/swp/swa) or call 651-201-4700 or 1-800-818-9318 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Lead in Drinking Water
You may be in contact with lead through paint, water, dust, soil, food, hobbies, or your job. Coming in contact with lead can cause serious health problems for everyone. There is no safe level of lead. Babies, children under six years, and pregnant women are at the highest risk.

Lead is rarely in a drinking water source, but it can get in your drinking water as it passes through lead service lines and your household plumbing system. Florence is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but it cannot control the plumbing materials used in private buildings.

Read below to learn how you can protect yourself from lead in drinking water.

Let the water run for 30-60 seconds before using it for drinking or cooking if the water has not been turned on in over six hours. If you have a lead service line, you may need to let the water run longer. A service line is the underground pipe that brings water from the main water pipe under the street to your home.
You can find out if you have a lead service line by contacting your public water system, or you can check by following the steps at: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/06/24/npr-find-lead-pipes-in-your-home
The only way to know if lead has been reduced by letting it run is to check with a test. If letting the water run does not reduce lead, consider other options to reduce your exposure.
Use cold water for drinking, making food, and making baby formula. Hot water releases more lead from pipes than cold water.
Test your water. In most cases, letting the water run and using cold water for drinking and cooking should keep lead levels low in your drinking water. If you are still concerned about lead, arrange with a laboratory to test your tap water. Testing your water is important if young children or pregnant women drink your tap water.
Contact a Minnesota Department of Health accredited laboratory to get a sample container and instructions on how to submit a sample:
Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (https://eldo.web.health.state.mn.us/public/accreditedlabs/labsearch.seam)
The Minnesota Department of Health can help you understand your test results.
Treat your water if a test shows your water has high levels of lead after you let the water run.
Read about water treatment units:
Point-of-Use Water Treatment Units for Lead Reduction (https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/factsheet/poulead.html)
Learn more:

Visit Lead in Drinking Water (https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/contaminants/lead.html)
Visit Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water (http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead)
Call the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 18004264791.To learn about how to reduce your contact with lead from sources other than your drinking water, visit Lead Poisoning Prevention: Common Sources (https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/lead/sources.html).

Florence water system replacement 80% funded!

As many of you know, our water system is composed of brittle tubing which causes frequent leaks and service interruptions, and it doesn’t have enough capacity for growth or fire fighting. We have just been approved for a $585,000 state grant to replace our system and we are finalizing an application for $150,000 in grants and loans from USDA Rural Development. As most of this project will be funded by grants we should be able to minimize increases in your water bills. Construction will probably be done in 2021 with minimal disturbance as they will be using horizontal boring to install the new pipes.

This system replacement will prepare us for future growth as we will be adding hydrants, upsizing the pipe from 1/2” to 4” and adding a loop around town that will improve water quality and offer service to several more lots and city hall. This is a massive commitment to Florence’s future by our city, state, and federal governments and we owe it to them to grow Florence to it’s full potential. Our current population is around 25 and towns of that size tend not to survive, with this project we will be able to serve at least 50 homes in Florence and a population of over 100 like Florence once had. A population of over 100 gives us economies of scale that will allow us to increase services without increasing taxes- Our current tax base is less than a million dollars, with 50 homes of even modest value we’d have easily 5 million dollars in tax base.

So to repay the confidence of our state and federal governments we have to position Florence to survive and grow. First, we must protect ourselves and the workers who will be building our new water system from the current COVID-19 pandemic by making the larger shop area in city hall year around usable for socially distanced meetings and adding internet access so the engineers and officials we work with can remotely participate in our meetings. The COVID-19 pandemic has also pointed out another vulnerability of Florence and similar small towns- We often barely have quorum at council meetings and our city officials, workers, and volunteers are mostly of retirement age. With COVID-19 being fatal to over 10% of infected persons in our age group and many more hospitalized and disabled, we badly need a succession plan to assure our future as a city when us old folks are gone- With most of the 25 of us left in Florence over 65, in 20 years most of us aren’t going to be here.

That means we have to recruit and welcome new citizens to our secret gem of the Buffalo Ridge, Florence- The new water system we are building will outlive most of us. 2020 is Florence’s 100th anniversary as a city, and to grow Florence for another century we have to welcome new residents who didn’t grow up with us a half century ago, maybe come from different cultures, speak more languages than our own, and haven’t learned how to drive a tractor (yet). These are the new Florence citizens that will run our water system, plow the snow, and keep Florence running long after we old timers are gone. We also need to explore and make alliances with neighboring townships and cities- Even with a population of over 100 we can benefit by sharing with our neighbors, we would not have water today if several counties had not come together to build the Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water System that supplies us. That is how we will build and grow Florence for it’s next century.

Respectfully submitted, Diana Slyter, Florence Water Operator


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