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Burnsville Drinking Water Reports and Guide

The City of Burnsville MN provides over 3.2 billion gallons of water each year.  Unlike most suburbs, Burnsville uses both groundwater and surface water sources:

  • Surface water drawn from the Kraemer Quarry
  • 17 wells ranging from 265 to 1030 feet deep that draw water from the Jordan, Mt. Simon, Prairie Du Chein-Jordan and Franconia-Mt. Simon aquifers

In 2010 when the city began drawing surface water from local quarries, residents began complaining about Burnsville tap water:

  • Residue/film in dishwashers caused by dissolved solids coming out of suspension in the water
  • Chlorine taste and smell
  • Brown or rust colored water
  • Swampy, earthy, fishy taste and smell caused by algae blooms

Swampy, Musty, Earthy, Fishy Water

Organic compounds like algae are common in surface water.  Algae blooms worsen with sunny, warm weather.  The city uses carbon filtration to improve odors.  Occasional taste or odor problems may still crop up.  A Carbon Filtration System can be installed in a home or business as a final layer of treatment.

Strong Chlorine Taste and Smell

Chlorine taste and smell have been an ongoing issue since the surface water plant was added. Problems are worse in late winter and early spring when water use is lower.  As of 2013, the city is working with consultants to help resolve these aesthetic problems.

Brown or Rusty Burnsville Water

Over the years Iron and Manganese build up inside water mains. Some lines like the 36” Nicollet Ave watermain date back to 1970.  Occasionally, some of the accumulation will break loose and show up in the water supply.   This build up is periodically treated by hydrant flushing.

The Chlorine in city water oxidizes Iron. Oxidized iron CANNOT be removed by a Water Softener, and requires additional filtration.
  • Soft Water
  • National Hardness Average
  • Burnsville Hardness

Burnsville Water Softener Recommendations

Burnsville reports an average Water Hardness of 25gpg.  Our tests tend to find lower levels of 22-23gpg – which is still considered “extremely hard” by both the WQA and USGS. A high efficiency Water Softener or Saltless Water Softener are critical to protecting appliances and plumbing.

Burnsville Water Reports

The City of Burnsville does regular water testing and publishes the results in Annual Drinking Water Reports. These reports explain which water contaminants, and what levels have been found.

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The EPA has two standards for drinking water contaminants:

MCL: Maximum Contaminant Level
The legal limit for a certain contaminant

MCLG: Maximum Contaminant Level GOAL
The level with ZERO HEALTH RISKS, aka the “Health Limit”

All water contaminants meet the EPA’s “Legal Limit”. Contaminants that exceed the EPA’s Health Limit have been highlighted below.

Inorganic Contaminants

Inorganic contaminants include natural and manmade salts and metals. You are mostly exposed to inorganics through drinking water, most do not easily pass through skin. Carbon Filters (refrigerator and faucet filters) have almost ZERO impact on these contaminants. Reverse Osmosis very effective at removing inorganic contaminants.

Contaminant Amount Found Health Limit Legal Limit Potential Effects
Barium 0.02 2 2 Increase in blood pressure
Fluoride 1.2-1.3 4 4 Bone disease;children may get mottled teeth
Iron 0.05 NA NA Rust stains, Damage to plumbing, appliances, water heaters, laundry
Manganese 0.02 NA NA Black stains, Damage to plumbing, appliances, water heaters, laundry

Organic Contaminants

Organic contaminants can come from either natural sources like algae, or man-made chemicals like Toluene. You can be exposed through drinking water, absorption through skin (bathing), and inhalation. This makes a Hybrid Filter System, or Whole House Carbon Filter a good preventative tool.

Contaminant Amount Found Health Limit Legal Limit Potential Effects
Toluene 0.6 – 3.6 150 1000 Liver problems, increased risk of cancer

Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts

Disinfectants are added to kill bacteria. Disinfectants like Chlorine react with other chemicals and create “Disinfection Byproducts. These chemicals enter the body through inhalation, absorption through skin, and drinking water. A Whole House Carbon Filter is a good preventative tool in addition to a Drinking Water System for these compounds.

Contaminant Amount Found Health Limit Legal Limit Potential Effects
Chlorine 0.2 – 1.7 4 4 Eye/nose irritation; stomach discomfort
Chloroform 0.18 – 0.5 5.7 80 Nervous system depression, increase in kidney and liver tumors
Haloacetic Acids 1.0 – 10.6 0 80 Increased risk of cancer
Total Trihalomethanes 0.4 – 47 0 60 Increased risk of cancer

Microbial Contaminants

Microbes like bacteria and virus come from a variety of sources. These include water main breaks, leaky septic systems, livestock, and wildlife. Microbial contaminants are mainly consumed through drinking water. Carbon Filters and Water Softeners do not offer any protection against microbes, but UV Treatment is very effective.

Contaminant Amount Found Health Limit Legal Limit Potential Effects
Cryptosporidium 0 – 0.02 NA NA Gastrointestinal illness (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, cramps)
Total Coliform Bacteria 0-1% 0 5 Not a health threat itself; it is used to indicate whether other potentially harmful bacteria may be present
Turbidity .06 – .99 NA 1NTU Turbidity is a measure of the cloudiness of water. Higher turbidity levels are often associated with higher levels of disease-causing microorganisms.

Radionuclide Contaminants

Radionuclides in water may occur naturally, or come from oil and gas production or mining activities. These can be inhaled, or consumed through drinking water.

Contaminant Amount Found Health Limit Legal Limit Potential Effects
Alpha Emitter 9.7 – 10.4 0 15.4 Increased risk of cancer
Combined Radium 3.6 – 4.2 0 5 Increased risk of cancer
Radon 202 0 NA Increased risk of cancer

This information was compiled from Burnsville’s water treatment reports, the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), Minnesota Department of Health(DOH), World Health Organization(WHO), and Environmental Working Group(EWG).

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