The Freshwater Society presented Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES), HDR Engineers and Braun Intertec with their Clean Water Champion Award during the Society’s Annual Ice Out/Loon Gala on April 9. The award recognized the partners for their work to help communities in the metro area to reduce or offset their demands on groundwater.
Specifically, the award recognized three reports that the engineering firms produced in partnership with the MCES Water Supply Planning department. Each of the three reports looked at a specific subregion of the metropolitan area and evaluated approaches to support sustainable water supplies.
The main option the reports explored for offsetting groundwater demands was the use of engineered systems to enhance the natural recharge of groundwater using stormwater. This option included a mapping exercise of the entire seven-county metro area using criteria such as land use, natural resources, geology, hydrogeology, and known contaminant plumes. This provided an initial screening and ranking of where in the region enhanced groundwater recharge may be feasible.
The main option explored for reducing groundwater demands was using stormwater for large-scale non-potable water demands, instead of groundwater. This option would include large-scale diversion and collection of stormwater runoff, which could then be used for irrigation. The study focused on determining where high-volume non-potable demand exists in the region and comparing that demand to the average annual non-winter stormwater runoff in those areas. This analysis determined which specific users were best suited for stormwater capture and reuse.
David Brown, senior engineer for MCES, accepted the Clean Water Champion award. He thanked the citizens of Minnesota “who in 2008 voted for the Legacy Amendment which supports and funds clean water initiatives like these three reports… Our department considers it an honor and important responsibility to steward these funds for projects that just wouldn’t and couldn’t get done without this funding.”