Isanti Soil & Water Conservation District



Nitrates in GroundwaterBuffer

Nitrate is a naturally occurring chemical found in air, soil, water and plants.  Much of the nitrate in our environment comes from decomposition of plants and animal wastes.  People also add nitrate to the environment in the form of fertilizers.

Why Test for Nitrates?

Nitrate is the most common pollutant found in rural wells in this area.  Nitrate in drinking water presents a serious problem for infants up to about six months of age, and for pregnant women.  Too much nitrate in infants can reduce the amount of oxygen carried by blood known as “Blue Baby Syndrome”.

How much is too much Nitrate?

The Minnesota Health Risk Limit for nitrate is 10 mg/L of nitrate-nitrogen, which provides newborns with reasonable protection against blue baby syndrome. This level is mandatory for all public water systems, and recommended for private wells.

Well Water Testing:

The Isanti County Extension Service offers well testing kits (testing options are more extensive than just nitrate).  Please call or stop at their office for more information: 763-689-1810

Isanti County - University of Minnesota
MN Extension Service
Government Center
Main Level, Room #1095
555 18th Avenue SW
Cambridge, MN 55008

Well Sealing

Well sealing is permanently closing a well that is no longer used or is deemed unsafe. State law requires abandoned wells in MN to be sealed.  Well sealing involves clearing debris from the well and filing it with grout.  This must be done by a licensed contractor:

An unseald well can act as a drain, allowing surface runoff, polluted water and improperly disposed of solid or other waste to contaminate groundwater.  Sealing abandoned wells protects groundwater quality.

Old unsealed wells can be hard to find.  They may be buried under soil or covered by buildings.  Sometimes the only evidence is a depression or an old well casing close to a house or outbuilding. 

If you are in need of sealing an unused well please contact Tiffany Determan at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    Owners Guide to Wells

    Well Water and Your Baby

Observation Well Monitoring

The MN DNR sponsors the Observation well monitoring programs which coordinates with SWCDs to collect groundwater elevations in a series of wells throughout the county.  Results from this effort are used to assess the overall health of groundwater within the state.

Isanti SWCD is contracted by the MN DNR to collect measurements from 11 observation wells scattered across the county.  Results can be found on the MN DNR’s Observation Well Database.

Rain Garden Information

Rain Garden Incentive Program - City of Isanti

The City of Isanti views rain gardens as a powerful tool to manage stormwater, as well as a great way to add aesthetic elements to residential lots. In order to encourage its residents to install rain gardens, the City of Isanti has the Residential Rain Garden Incentive Program. Program participants will be given tools for planning and implementing rain gardens on their property, and approved applicants will be reimbursed 50% of the cost, up to $500, for plants, soil, and other supplies to get the garden started.  Click here for more information.

2018 Annual Highlights

2018 was a busy year for Isanti SWCD. Click here to read all about our most recent Conservation programs and priorities. We would like to send out a special thank you to all our Federal,monitoring culvert sm State, and Local partners who support our mission to preserve, protect and enhance water quality, soil, and other natural resources in Isanti County. We’re already planning great things for 2019 including targeted agricultural outreach, lakeshore restorations on Green Lake, and conservation planning in the Lower St. Croix Watershed.