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Cloquet’s Drinking Water Supply
The City of Cloquet obtains its drinking water supply from four 12-inch diameter glacial drift groundwater wells (Well No.'s 1, 6, 8 and 11) plus the Spring Lake Reservoir. In addition, the City has a fifth well (Well 10), which currently is not pumped, but has been maintained on a standby basis since 1990. Each day, Cloquet’s residents, businesses and industries consume approximately 1.3 million gallons of well water.
The Spring Lake Reservoir is an open-bottom concrete ground reservoir, which receives the pumpage from Well 1, but the high service pumps located here deliver to the system substantially more water than it receives from Well 1. The reservoir essentially is a very large diameter well.
The high service pumps located at Wells No.'s 6, 8, 10, 11 and the Spring Lake Reservoir operate independently of each other and discharge treated water directly to Cloquet’s water distribution system. Each well is treated on site with chlorine gas for disinfection, hydrofluosilicic acid (floride) to prevent tooth decay and a polyphosphate blend to help control iron and manganese minerals that are present in the ground water. All chemicals are fed automatically with the use of chemical feed pumps and all wells are inspected on a daily basis to insure all chemical feed systems are operating properly and at the proper feed rates.
The operation of the wells are continuously monitored and controlled by a computerized Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, which starts and stops well pumps based on the level of water in the 1 million gallon elevated water tower. In addition, this control system monitors various real time operating parameters such as the elevated tank level, well pumping rates, total gallons pumped, hourly and daily water demand or usage. In the event something occurs out of the ordinary, the system will generate and log an automatic alarm, which is transmitted to a 24-hour emergency dispatcher for the utility.
Water Distribution System
Water flows from the City wells to its 3,600 customers through a network of distribution mains that include some 100 miles of pipe. Portions of Cloquet’s water distribution system date back to the turn of the century and as a result require a high degree of maintenance and reconstruction. Since 1985 the City has maintained an aggressive reconstruction program to gradually replace and upgrade its system.
Like all groundwater supplies, Cloquet’s well water contains a certain amount of natural occurring minerals such as iron, manganese and calcium hardness. As a Public Water Supply, the operation and maintenance of Cloquet’s water system is regulated and overseen by the Minnesota Department of Health. Each well and twenty-five locations scattered throughout the distribution system are routinely monitored and sampled by the City and the State to insure full compliance with all federal drinking water standards. Each year, the City is required to publish a Drinking Water Quality or Consumer Confidence Report. Select the following link to view the City of Cloquet’s most recent Water Quality Report:
Protecting Cloquet’s Well Water Supply – Wellhead Protection
As a society, we have become more and more environmentally conscious and better informed about the effects our lifestyles have on the world around us. Yet the demand for our most valuable natural resource, drinking water, continues to grow. Our groundwater source is not infinite and we need to do whatever we can to protect it.
Back in 2003, the City of Cloquet had its water system evaluated and as a result of this study, it was determined that portions of Cloquet’s well supply are highly vulnerable to possible contamination. This is primarily due to the fact that all of Cloquet’s water wells are relatively shallow in depth (73 to 144 feet) and the heavy concentrations of sand and gravel soils, that hold our groundwater supply, extend upwards close to the land surface. This can provide a direct route for harmful substances or other sources of pollution to seep in from the surface, come in contact with our groundwater and eventually migrate towards the supply wells.
As part of the 2003 evaluation, Cloquet identified two separate Wellhead Protection Areas for its major well fields. The Wellhead Protection Area was determined by using geologic and hydrologic criteria, such as physical characteristics of the aquifer and the effects which pumping has on the rate and direction of groundwater movement. To determine if your home or business resides in a Cloquet Wellhead Protection Area, select the following link:
Many of our everyday activities can cause pollution or groundwater contamination. Wellhead Protection is a way to prevent drinking water from becoming polluted by managing possible sources of contamination in the area that supplies water to a well.
Probably the most effective and least costly method of protecting our groundwater is to recognize possible sources of contamination on our own property.
Here are some ways you, as an individual, can help
- Know whether your home or business resides within a Wellhead Protection Area.
- Use and dispose of harmful materials properly. Don't dump them on the ground! Hazardous waste that is dumped on or buried in the ground can contaminate the soil and can move down into the ground water or be carried into nearby surface waters by runoff during rainstorms. You might be surprised to learn that a number of products you use at home contain hazardous or toxic substances. Products like motor oil, pesticides, leftover paints, mothballs, flea collars, weed killers, household cleaners and even a number of medicines contain materials that can be harmful to surface water and ground water.
- Don't overuse pesticides or fertilizers. You might apply fertilizers to make your grass thick and green, your flowers colorful and your vegetable crop abundant. You also might use pesticides to keep bugs from ruining what the fertilizers have helped to produce. What you might not know is that many of these fertilizers and pesticides contain hazardous chemicals that can travel through the soil and contaminate ground water. If you feel you must use these chemicals, use them in moderation.
- Use the Carlton County household hazardous waste collection facility for the proper disposal of hazardous wastes.
- If you have a well on your property to provide your drinking water, see that it is properly maintained and protected from any possible sources of contamination.
- If you have an unused well on your property, have it properly abandoned as required by State law.
- If you have a septic system that services your home or business, see that it is properly maintained and never pour any chemicals into your sewer, other than those specifically approved for septic systems.
- Conserve water use.
Water Conservation – Saving Water and Money
Water conservation is a form of protection that not only saves this precious commodity but at the same time saves us money.
Numerous water saving technologies have been developed to help conserve water. And while strong progress has been made, there are several simple steps that consumers can take to help preserve our water supply for future generations.
Make A Difference Today!
You can save water and lower your monthly water and sewer bill by following these tips:
Stop those leaks!
Check your indoor water using appliances and outside faucets for leaks. Even a small leak can cost you hundreds of dollars.
Replace the 'old' toilet, the largest water user inside your home!
If your home was built before 1992 and the toilet has never been replaced, then it is very likely you do not have a water efficient 1.6 gallon per flush toilet.
Replace your clothes washer, the second largest water user in your home!
Energy Star rated washers can use 35-50% less water and 50% less energy per load. That saves you money not only on your water and sewer bill but also your energy bill as well.
Plant the right plants and consider a more “natural” landscape design!
Whether you are putting in a new landscape or slowing changing the current landscaping around your home, select plants that are appropriate for your local climate. Also consider reducing the amount of grass in your lawn by planting a more natural landscape that includes more trees and shrubs. Spread mulch around your flowerbeds, trees and shrubs. This will reduce the water requirements for your plants and help them thrive.
Water only what your plants need!
Most water is wasted in your garden or on your lawn by watering when your plants do not need water or by over-watering. Learn more about proper watering techniques and water wisely.
Additional Resources on Wellhead Protection
For more information on Wellhead Protection or things individuals can use to protect our groundwater and themselves, select the following links:
- What is Wellhead Protection?
- Wellhead Protection Brochure
- City of Cloquet Wellhead Protection Plan
- Well Owner’s Handbook
- Well Disclosures / Property Transfer
- Carlton County Recycling and Solid Waste
- Carlton County Private Well Water Testing Program
- Things Individuals can use at home or work to protect the environment
Should you have any questions or comments concerning the City of Cloquet’s water supply or Wellhead Protection Program, please contact James Prusak, Director of Public Works at (218) 879-6758.
Water Meter Replacement Program
Over the past five years, the City of Cloquet has been replacing or upgrading all of its 3,600 water meters throughout town. This is generally at no expense to the customer. The new meters have an automated reading feature that utilizes radio technology and is similar to what is being done in other segments of the utility industry.
With a radio read meter, in most instances, the reader will need only drive past the front of your home or building to read the meter. In less than a second, the meter transmits its identification number, tamper codes and meter reading. This information is stored in the mobile data collector and downloaded into our billing system at the end of the day. The remote registers, currently mounted on the outside of your home, will no longer be needed once the radio read meter is operational.
If you have not already had your water meter upgraded, you will eventually be receiving a letter from the City Engineer’s office and employees from the Cloquet Water Department will be contacting you directly to set up an appointment.
Lake Superior Waterline
In addition to its well supply, the City also owns and operates a separate water transmission pipeline from Lake Superior, which provides approximately 10 million gallons per day of industrial water to the Sappi papermill. Although years ago, the City used Lake Superior water to supplement it’s groundwater drinking water supply, because the lake system is an unfiltered surface water supply, a water filtration plant would have to be constructed if Cloquet were ever to use it for drinking water. For that reason, Cloquet has not used the lake water in town since 1980.