Tap Water in New Brighton
The water is treated at four state of the art water treatment facilities that remove chemical solvent contamination and naturally occurring iron and manganese. The New Brighton water system contains 92 miles of water mains, over 5,700 water service connections, 950 water main valves, and 846 fire hydrants. The City’s four water towers have a combined water storage capacity of 2.75 million gallons. Chlorine and fluoride is added to the water for disinfection and dental hygiene.
New Brighton has grown from a small farming community of 500 people in 1930, experiencing very rapid growth in the 60’s, to around 22,000 people today. The average daily water usage of the City today is about 2.75 million gallons, but it can peak at over nine million gallons on very hot dry summer days due to lawn sprinkling.
700 5th St. NW
New Brighton, MN 55112
Call 911 to report watermain breaks or sewer back ups.
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Due to the possibility of extreme frost conditions in the metro area, property owners in New Brighton and other metro cities could experience issues with frozen water line services. The City of New Brighton wants to alert residents and property owners to this problem and provide advice. Thawing frozen service lines and plumbing can be costly to property owners.
Residents and property owners that use water less frequently are more susceptible to frozen services. If you have discolored water, your water service may freeze soon. Run water immediately and call Public Works.
You can measure the temperature of your water after running a faucet until it is cold. If you find it to be 40 degrees or colder, you should run water continuously to avoid a frozen water service and call Public Works.
Please read the following advice on what to do if your pipes do freeze.
What to do if your pipes are frozen
- Call the City of New Brighton Public Works Department at 651-638-2111 or 651-638-2119 (7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., M-F) or Ramsey County Dispatch at 651-767-0640 (after hours and weekends). City staff can provide information to you on contractors known to be working in the area thawing frozen services.
What is Wellhead Protection?
Wellhead Protection is a way to prevent drinking water from becoming polluted by managing potential sources of contamination in the area which supplies water to a public well. Much can be done to prevent pollution, such as the wise use of land and chemicals. Public health is protected and expense of treating polluted water or drilling new wells is avoided though wellhead protection efforts.
Groundwater often moves very slowly. Once it is contaminated, it may remain so for a long time, and maybe difficult and expensive to locate the source and remove the contaminant.
The Minnesota Groundwater Protection Act of 1989 granted the Commissioner of Health authority to develop wellhead protection measures for wells serving public water supplies (this rule does not apply to private wells). This action was in response to the 1986 amendment of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act in which states are required to implement wellhead protection programs for public water supply wells.
Wellhead protection is a way to prevent contaminants from entering the area where drinking water is drawn. Specifically, community public water systems like New Brighton’s are required to delineate, inventory, and manage an inner wellhead management zone. Additionally, they must create a formal wellhead protection plan.
The wellhead protection planning process is broken down into two parts. Part one updates the wellhead protection area and drinking water supply management area, and re-assesses the vulnerability of the municipal wells. Part two updates the wellhead protection plan, including goals, objectives, plans of action, program evaluations, and contingency plans. The New Brighton City Council approved the Wellhead Protection in October 2013.
The process to create Well Head Protection Area (WHPA) and Drinking Water Supply Management Area (DWSMA) consists of two parts (see Part 1 and Part 2 attachments). Our full plan development took us nearly 5 years to complete and will be updated every ten years going forward.
The goals of the Wellhead Protection Program:
1. Maintain or improve the water quality of the City’s water supply
2. Work with the surrounding cities with the goal of protecting the source water aquifers
3. Provide information & promote activities that protect the aquifers used by the City
4. Collect data to support future Wellhead Protection work
Our approved Wellhead Protection plan includes action items for protecting the source water aquifers within the DWSMA and covers the following categories:
- Well management – Proper maintenance and sealing of private wells
- Potential contaminant source properties – Most important action: continue to operate the PGACWTF
- Public education – Quality of the City’s drinking water & Awareness/understanding of Wellhead Protection Program
- Land use management
- Continued data collection – Geologic/hydrogeologic data & Periodically update potential contaminant source information
For more information regarding Wellhead Protection, please click on the following links:
Summer water demand is high compared to the winter months. Lawn watering is the primary cause of increased water demand during the summer.
The City of New Brighton has the following on-going lawn sprinkling policy to ensure there will be adequate water available at all times plus reserves in storage for fire protection purposes. If every home in the City tried to sprinkle lawns at the same time water demand will greatly exceed water production capabilities and a total sprinkling ban will be needed to reserve water for fire protection. If half of the homes in the City sprinkle lawns every other day and the other half the alternate day, there will be plenty of water for all purposes.
New Brighton’s Lawn Sprinkling Policy
- Even numbered addresses may sprinkle on even numbered calendar dates
- Odd numbered addresses may sprinkle on odd numbered calendar dates
- Newly seeded or sodded lawns may be sprinkled every day for a period not to exceed three weeks
- Violation of these policies is punishable by a fine of $40
- The City asks that you avoid lawn sprinkling during the peak demand hours of 4pm to 10pm on hot, dry summer days.
It can take 3,000 gallons of water per week to keep a 1/4 acre lawn green. Bob Mugaas, Univ. Of MN suggests:
Watering deeply and infrequently during the dry summer months of July and August. Clay soils, which are common in New Brighton, hold water well. Applying 3/4″ to 1″ of water per week will maintain a green lawn. On an average, one and a half hours of watering will apply that much water. Water sprinklers that throw large drops are more effective and waste less water than those with fine, high sprays. Your watering schedule should be adjusted to account for rainfall.
Overwatering wastes your money. Any extra water, applied beyond the needs of the grass and moisture holding capacity of the soil, moves down out of the root zone of the grass where it cannot be used by your lawn.This is especially true in some of our sandy areas in the city.
Overwatering also results in the removal of plant nutrients (some of which you may have purchased in the form of fertilizer) from the zone where the roots can use it. Excess watering may cause disease problems in your lawn.
Mowing your lawn 2 to 3 inches above the soil line, while removing no more than 40% of the height of the grass, will conserve water while keeping your grass green. Don’t scalp your lawn! Your soil will be shaded and cooler, preventing evaporation. This also assists in weed prevention.
Lawns can be allowed to go into a summer dormancy period. This will save you money and time spent mowing. If you choose to do this, do not fertilize your lawn in the spring. Gradually decrease water application as July approaches, then apply 1/4″ to ½” of water every two to three weeks. Shorten the interval if you have sandy soil on your property.
The City water contains a small amount of naturally occurring iron and manganese that collects in the water system. If you get rusty water in your home during the flushing, run a cold laundry faucet about five minutes to purge your home plumbing. If you happen to get some rusty water in your hot water heater, it may take a day or so to completely clear up.
The City of New Brighton flushes the fire hydrants in the fall, usually in October, to remove iron and manganese from the water system. The flushing may temporarily cause some reddish-brown water for New Brighton residents. The water is safe for human consumption; however, it could stain clothing if washing clothes. If discoloration of water occurs, please refrain from washing clothes until the water is clear. It should clear up in 24 hours.
The hydrant flushing begins along 7th St NW and continues north to Co Rd H. When the north half of the City is complete, the south half will be done, beginning at 7th St NW and working south to Co Rd D. The flushing takes approximately one week to complete.
Contact the City at 651-638-2050 if discoloration of your water persists or if you have any questions.
A common complaint about water is its odor or taste. It is important to remember that an odor does not mean the water is unsafe to drink. The City of New Brighton’s goal is to provide both safe and aesthetically pleasing water.
Odor and taste problems often are due to the source of the water. High mineral levels are common in Minnesota groundwater, and minerals affect the taste of water. Iron and manganese produce a metallic taste to water; manganese can also impart a bitter flavor and can be the cause of an oily-looking film seen on brewed coffee. Calcium and magnesium, which are responsible for water being “hard”, actually can make water taste better. The water in New Brighton is classified as hard, ranging from 17-20 grains.
Odor and taste problems can originate in your own home. Water heaters are often a source of offensive odors in water, especially if you are away from home for long periods. Flushing or draining the water heater regularly can alleviate this problem.
If your drinking water does not taste or smell the way you would like, try filling a pitcher with tap water and letting it stand in your refrigerator for a few hours prior to drinking the water. This will allow odors to dissipate and better tasting water may result. Change the water in the pitcher every couple of days.
- 2017 Consumer Confidence Report (Water testing in 2016)
- 2016 Consumer Confidence Report (Water testing in 2015)
- 2015 Consumer Confidence Report (Water testing in 2014)
- 2014 Consumer Confidence Report (Water testing in 2013)
- 2013 Consumer Confidence Report (Water testing in 2012)
- 2012 Consumer Confidence Report (Water testing in 2011)
- 2011 Consumer Confidence Report (Water testing in 2010)
- 2010 Consumer Confidence Report (Water testing in 2009)
- 2009 Consumer Confidence Report (Water testing in 2008)
- 2008 Consumer Confidence Report (Water testing in 2007)
- 2007 Consumer Confidence Report (Water testing in 2006)
What You Can Do
Did you know that by making just a few simple changes, you can cut your water usage and have a huge impact on our water resources?
- Save money and water by turning off the water while you wash your hands and brush your teeth. Turn the faucet on only for rinsing. The EPA has calculated that this practicecan save more than 200 gallons of water per month in a household.
- Conserve water by taking a shower instead of a bath. Showers with water efficient shower heads use 10 – 25 gallons of water for a 10 minute shower while the average bathtub takes up to 70 gallons. Turning the shower off after getting wet and turning it back only to rinse off will save even more water. If you don’t have a water efficient shower head, consider installing one that has a flow rate of less than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) for maximum efficiency. Standard shower heads use up to 40% more water!
- Check your faucets and toilets for leaks. Even little drips add up resulting in a lot of wasted water. The USGS Water Science School has an on-line drip calculator you can use to calculate how much water you will save by fixing those drips.
- Raise your lawn mower cutting height. Longer grass needs less water. Grass that is watered less frequently also develops a stronger root system.
- Use mulch around shrubs and garden plants. It minimizes evaporation and reduces weed growth.
- Stop watering your lawn. Using a sprinkler for one hour three times a week uses about 12,240 gallons of water per month. Using an irrigation system with 8 zones for 15 minutes twice a week uses about 15,360 gallons per month. If you must water your lawn, water for limited periods of time and do it in the morning to minimize evaporation.
- Consider obtaining a rain barrel. Collect rain water and use it to water your plants.
Want more information and ideas? Visit:
New Brighton Drinking Water Updates
Providing a safe and reliable water supply is one of the most important functions that New Brighton performs. New Brighton successfully dealt with the Army’s contamination of its water supply in the 1980s. In 2014, the City and the Army reached a landmark settlement that secures funding for our state-of-the-art water treatment plant, which is designed to remove known Army contaminants. The City now has taken further steps to address a newly-identified contaminant.
Scientific and technological advances have resulted in better methods for detecting contaminants at extremely low concentrations. Using this technology, testing by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and independently verified by the City, has detected trace amounts of 1,4-dioxane (dioxane) in the City’s water. Dioxane is an additive found in solvents that were used at the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant.
No regulatory limit on the amount of dioxane permitted in drinking water has yet been set under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The MDH, however, has set an advisory limit of 1 part per billion (ppb). The recent testing conducted by MDH and the City has detected dioxane at levels ranging from 2.9 ppb to 5.5 ppb. This newly-identified contaminant is not unique to New Brighton; it has been found in states across the country, including Arizona, New York, Kansas, New Hampshire, Indiana, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin.
Although the health risk is very low, and there are no enforceable state or federal dioxane regulations, the City takes any risk seriously. The City has already taken steps to remove the risk by using wells in a deeper aquifer that have been confirmed to be dioxane-free. The City will continue to use these dioxane-free wells until a proven treatment technology, funded by the Army, is in place to remove dioxane from wells where it has been detected. The Army has stated that it is committed to working cooperatively with the City to develop this response.
The New Brighton water system has undergone major changes since the discovery of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the City water wells in July of 1981. Trichloroethylene (TCE), a common degreasing solvent and suspected carcinogen, was found in the wells at levels ranging from a few parts per billion to over two hundred parts per billion. The well water also contained lesser quantities of trichloroethane, dichloroethane, and dichloroethylene. The City immediately responded by changing the order of usage of the wells to use the lowest contaminated wells first. In addition, an odd/even lawn sprinkling procedure was put into effect to control water demand.
At the time of the discovery of the contamination the City’s water supply consisted of eight wells, Well #2 through Well #9, finished in the Prairie Du Chein/Jordan formation. Chlorine, fluoride, and polyphosphate for iron sequestering were added to the water at the well head at this time. The water had about 17 grains per gallon hardness and most residents had individual home water softeners.
The State Board of Health notified the City that the chemical contamination posed a long-term chronic health problem and directed the City to replace the contaminated supply. Replacement options investigated by the City included, purchasing water from a neighboring city, installation of new clean wells, and treatment of the existing supply. The City’s initial decision was to construct new wells in the deeper Mount Simon/Hinckley aquifer.
The City began in the fall of 1981 by sealing off the Prairie Du Chein/Jordan aquifer in Well #8 and Well #9 and drilling them into the deeper Mount Simon/Hinckley aquifer. Three additional Mount Simon/Hinckley wells, #10, #11 and #12, were constructed over the next couple of years. The Mount Simon/Hinckley wells had a lower yield than the Prairie Du Chein/Jordan wells and lawn sprinkling bans were in effect during the dry summer months. Odd/even lawn sprinkling continued to be enforced to moderate peak demands caused by lawn sprinkling. The Mount Simon/Hinckley water was also much higher in iron, so gravity iron removal filters were installed on wells #8, #10, #11, and #12.
By 1987 the source of the contamination had been identified as the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) located in Arden Hills about 2.5 miles northeast of the City water wells. The Army reimbursed the City for the cost of the Mount Simon/Hinckley wells and iron removal plants and paid for the design, construction, and operation and maintenance of a new treatment plant to treat water from the old contaminated wells #3, #4, #5, and #6. The litigation settlement agreement between the city and the army requires the city to pump 3.2 to 6.9 million gallons daily for remediation purposes.
The water treatment plant was put into service in May of 1990. The treatment process utilizes granular activated carbon in down-flow pressure contactors to remove the contaminants.
The treatment plant proved to be a safe and reliable water supply for the City and an important groundwater cleanup facility for the Army. This practical relationship between water supply and groundwater cleanup resulted in a cooperative effort by the Army and the City for the final remediation plan for the contaminated Prairie Du Chein/Jordan aquifer. In 1992, well #13, a second smaller treatment plant, and a 20 inch diameter water system interconnection to the City of Fridley were completed. In 1994, iron and manganese pressure filtration was added to the first Treatment Plant. In 1995 and 1996 two additional new wells, #14 and #15, were installed to optimize contaminant removal and plume containment. The interconnection to the City of Fridley was built because the daily pumpage requirements for containment were in excess of the City of New Brighton’s average day water demand. The iron and manganese filtration was added because the best wells for remediation contain levels of iron and manganese that could not be satisfactorily controlled by sequestration. The large water treatment plant is referred to as the Permanent Granular Activated Carbon Water Treatment Facility, or by the acronym PGACWTF. The smaller water treatment plant is called the Plume Groundwater Recovery System, or PGRS. In the year 2000, the water from well #13 was tested clean of contamination, the well was sealed and the PGRS treatment plant was decommissioned.
New Brighton water demand records have been maintained since 1966. The average daily consumption over the period 1984 to 1994 is 120.8 gallons per capita per day. The average daily demand for this same period is 2,814,356 gallons per day. The maximum day demand of record of 9.3 million gallons occurred in July of 2001. Variations in the water demand for at least the last ten years have been primarily a result of weather and lawn sprinkling. These water demand figures are probably representative of the foreseeable future since the City of New Brighton is nearly fully developed and surrounded by developed communities.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- March 2017 Water Update Letter
- Letter sent April 16, 2015 to New Brighton residents and businesses
- Press Release issued April 17, 2015
- January 2016 Water Update Letter
- July 2016 Water Update Letter
- 1,4-Dioxane in Drinking Water Fact Sheet from the MN Department of Health
- 1,4-Dioxane White Paper from the Water Research Foundation
- EPA Technical Fact Sheet
- Video recording of the May 2, 2015 Town Hall / Community Open House Water Presentation
- PowerPoint Presentation from the May 2, 2015 Town Hall / Community Open House
- Video recording of the May 7, 2016 Town Hall/Community Open House Drinking Water Update
- PowerPoint Presentation from the May 7, 2016/Community Open House Drinking Water Update
- Video recording of the Aug. 11, 2015 City Council Meeting – Treatability Testing of 1,4 Dioxane
- Video recording of the Aug. 23, 2016 City Council Meeting – Pilot Study & Technical Recommendation for Water Treatment Plant I