The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

February 27, 2013

Despite drought, Minnesota lets water users exceed limits



But Homuth said the DNR has not assigned an employee to make a yearly assessment of entities that violate water permits.

In only one case did DNR officials alert the permit holder. In 1998, the department notified Green Lake Nursery, of Spicer, Minn., that it had exceed its maximum. However, there's no evidence in the file that the DNR took any further action, and the nursery continued to exceed its water limit for another decade or so, according to DNR water permit pumping data.

According to Minnesota law, exceeding the permitted water limit is a misdemeanor. But Homuth said to his knowledge no one has ever been charged. He said it would cost too much to prosecute.

DNR officials can also modify, restrict or cancel a permit for over-pumping. But there's no evidence in the files that the DNR has taken any of those actions against a water use violator.

Pat Sweeney, research and communications director for the Freshwater Society, a Twin Cities based group that works to protect water resources, said the DNR should at least contact anyone who exceeds their pumping limit to call it to their attention.

"If the DNR invested more time and energy and effort, I think they could clear up some of these problems," Sweeney said.

Over-pumping can cause real world problems.

In at least one case in recent years, over-pumping by a neighbor contributed to a rural well going dry. Last year, with the drought impact growing, well owners filed nearly a dozen more so-called well interference complaints. The DNR has not yet determined if excessive pumping played a role in any of those well disruptions. But a dry well is a big problem, particularly in southwest Minnesota, which has endured drought conditions for the last two years.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • American doctor in Africa gets treatment for Ebola BOONE, N.C. (AP) — An American doctor infected with the deadly Ebola disease received intensive treatment Sunday in West Africa and was in stable condition, talking to his medical team and working on his computer, a spokeswoman for an aid group said.

    July 27, 2014

  • Salmonella Outbreak Trial [Duplicate] Trial in salmonella outbreak to start in Georgia ATLANTA (AP) — Three people accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine people, sickened more than 700 and prompted one of the largest food recalls in history are set to go to trial this week in south Georg

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pitfalls emerge in health insurance renewals WASHINGTON — For the 8 million people who persevered through all the technical travails in the new health insurance exchanges and managed to sign up for coverage in 2014, their policies will probably automatically renew come November when open enroll

    July 27, 2014

  • Hamas agrees to 24-hour holiday truce in Gaza war GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas on Sunday agreed to observe a 24-hour truce in Gaza after initially rejecting a similar Israeli offer, as fighting resumed and the two sides wrangled over the terms of a lull that international diplomats had hoped c

    July 27, 2014

  • Solar car race to end at University of Minnesota MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A cross-country solar car race is set to finish at the University of Minnesota on Monday. About 10 solar cars from colleges around the world are competing in the eight-day, 1,700-mile American Solar Challenge. The race began July

    July 27, 2014

  • Dozens of oil trains pass through Minnesota weekly Railroad documents released by the state Department of Public Safety show about 50 trains carrying crude oil from North Dakota are passing through Minnesota each week.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medical Marijuana [Duplicate] Wanted: Manufacturers for Minn. medical pot program After the long slog to legalize medical marijuana, the state's real work has begun to get the unconventional medicine in severely ill patients' hands by this time next year.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Minneapolis to NYC flight diverted to Milwaukee MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Delta Air Lines flight from Minneapolis to New York City has landed safely in Milwaukee after it was diverted. Delta spokeswoman Kate Modolo says the crew chose to divert the flight Saturday morning out of an abundance of caution a

    July 26, 2014

  • Hamas rejects 4-hour Gaza war truce extension BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip (AP) — A Hamas official says the group has rejected a four-hour extension of a humanitarian truce proposed by Israel. Sami Abu Zuhri sent a text message to reporters Saturday, saying: "No agreement to extending the calm for an

    July 26, 2014

  • Arizona execution renews debate over methods SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A third execution by lethal injection has gone awry in six months, renewing debate over whether there is a foolproof way for the government to humanely kill condemned criminals, and whether it's even worth looking for one. Death

    July 26, 2014