Possible water restrictions to be enforced in Woodbury

Neighbors in one east metro community are being warned about likely water restrictions.

Notices went out to people in Woodbury this week. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS found out more about what's causing the city to be concerned and what homeowners need to know.

There could soon be a water shortage in Woodbury if a temporary water treatment plant is not fully operational by the time the weather turns hot and dry. The problem stems from wells that were contaminated with PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances), substances that polluted the water.

Woodbury Utility Division Manager Jim Westerman said, "The city of Woodbury has 19 groundwater production wells, and due to contamination from PFAS, seven of those 19 production wells have been taken out of service. This plant is being constructed to treat four of those seven wells, and bring them back into service to increase our capacity for the residents in the city of Woodbury during the summer of 2020."

"There is a potential, a likely potential, that we could have increased irrigation restrictions in the city of Woodbury until the water treatment plant is brought online and fully up and functional," he added.

The water treatment facility is a nearly $11 million project paid for by a 2007 agreement between 3M and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, connected to waste disposal by the Washington County-based company.

"It's important to note that the water we deliver to our customers, today, meets all current state and federal standards," Westerman said.

The facility is set to be done this summer. But a hot, dry stretch could happen before then, triggering a water ban.

"This ban may not be necessary, but we are preparing for the potential," Westerman said.

The city is preparing for the possibility its residents won't be able to use underground sprinkler systems in Woodbury. People living in Woodbury recently got a postcard alert in the mail.

Homeowners Phyllis and David Hunter said they're ready.

"I think it's going to be needed, unfortunately," Phyllis said. David added, “We are glad they're building the plant.”

David and Phyllis hope the timeline stays on course.

The city said the warmer the weather, the more water people use. While no water irrigation systems would be allowed, you could still use a hand-held hose.

"We only anticipate putting this ban in place if it's needed to maintain pressure in our system, and to help us manage water demand in the community," said Westerman.

Woodbury resident Shelly Larson said it makes sense.

"We've been abreast of it, the whole situation here, so I've been expecting it," Larson said.

If the restrictions go into effect, the city said it'll notify people through its Code Red call system, social media and by placing signs across the city.

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