Rule limits use of nitrogen fertilizer in areas with vulnerable soils
The state’s new Groundwater Protection Rule (GPR) became effective June 24, 2019. The GPR will reduce the risk of nitrate from fertilizer impacting groundwater in areas of the state where soils are prone to leaching and where drinking water supplies are threatened. Nitrate is one of the most common contaminants in Minnesota’s groundwater; elevated nitrate levels in drinking water can pose serious health concerns for humans.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will oversee implementation of the rule. Beginning in 2020, use of nitrogen fertilizer in the fall and on frozen soils will be restricted in areas of the state with vulnerable groundwater, such as areas with coarse textured soil, shallow bedrock, or karst geology, and in public wellhead areas – known as Drinking Water Supply Management Areas (DWSMAs) – with elevated nitrate levels.
The Groundwater Protection Rule is part of the state’s overall Nitrogen Fertilizer Management Plan (NFMP) which was developed with broad stakeholder input over a five year period and implemented in 2015. More information on the rule and the NFMP is available at www.mda.state.mn.us/nfr.