Public Works

Surface Water & Sewers Division
309 2nd Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55401-2268

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Lake Nokomis Groundwater and Surface Water Issues

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Project Updates

February 7, 2019

Bedrock Wells in Solomon Park Will Improve Understanding of Area Groundwater Movement 

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is close to completing installation of the first of two deep bedrock wells in Solomon Park to provide ongoing information on groundwater levels and movement in the area.

The first bedrock well was drilled 400 feet down into the Jordan Sandstone aquifer in the northwest corner of the park. Water generated from the drilling process was pumped to a settling tank to remove sediments, then directed into the sanitary sewer system to avoid adding groundwater to local surface waters. A second bedrock well will soon be drilled nearby to a depth of about 250 feet into the Prairie du Chien aquifer. Installation of the wells was delayed by weather conditions and is now expected to be complete by the end of February.

In addition to the two bedrock observation wells, four other wells were installed during the past 18 months:

View the October 9, 2018 Newsletter here.

As part of efforts to keep area residents informed and engaged, the Nokomis Area Groundwater and Surface Water Evaluation team held an open house on Wednesday, Oct. 24. Interagency staff were on hand to provide information and answer questions on a variety of topics related to groundwater and surface water issues in the area. Information from this meeting will be posted on this site soon.

Minnehaha Creek Watershed Levels Update

View the latest water level report from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District. These reports are generated after major rainfall events.

What is the Concern

Property owners near Lake Nokomis have noted higher levels of groundwater and standing water in previously dry areas, such as Solomon Park and Lake Nokomis Park. Additionally, the City of Minneapolis has received concerns over deteriorating private sewer laterals and groundwater impacting basements and foundations. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has observed high water levels in Lake Nokomis, which has impacted beaches and shorelines.

Area of Concern

Nokomis Groundwater Area Map

What are we Working to Understand

Who is Working to Understand the Concerns?

Groundwater and surface water management within Minneapolis falls under many different jurisdictions, therefore a group of agencies are working in partnership to evaluate and understand the groundwater impacts. Agencies participating in the evaluation include MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR), City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD), and Hennepin County. These agencies are also coordinating with MN Department of Transportation (MnDOT), Metropolitan Airports Commission.

How are these Agencies Working Together?

Staff from the DNR, City of Minneapolis, MPRB, and MCWD are working together in a technical team to try and understand the questions noted above, while coordinating with other technical partners (noted above) as needed. 

The work of the technical team has included installing new shallow groundwater wells, reviewing groundwater elevation data from existing monitoring wells, understanding soil characteristics and geology underlying the area, summarizing precipitation data, modeling groundwater recharge rates, looking at the Lake Nokomis water levels, and reviewing the operation of the Nokomis weir.

Contact Information

For additional questions or concerns, please email [email protected].

Presentation & Reports

Following a meeting with state, regional and local partners on November 30, 2017 the Surface Water and Sewers Division of Minneapolis Public Works committed to leading an technical team to investigate what is known about high groundwater challenges south and west of Lake Nokomis. The technical team had an initial meeting on January 22, 2017 to discuss sources of data, gaps in understanding, and how to bring resources together to conduct further technical work. Going forward, the team will determine what additional investigation may be needed to address the high groundwater and surface water issues in this area.

Current Lake Nokomis Level Information

Nokomis Area Groundwater & Surface Water Evaluation, Leadership Team Meeting Notes - May 1, 2018

Nokomis Area Groundwater FAQ Fact Sheet

Minneapolis Groundwater Technical Review - March 30, 2018

Preliminary Findings of Nokomis Area Groundwater Based on Metro Model 3 - Ray Wuolo

Lake Nokomis Outlet Operating Plan

MCWD Lake Nokomis Groundwater & Surface Water Issues report

Hydrogeologic data for Nokomis and Hiawatha Lakes

Minnesota Precipitation Trends

Nokomis Groundwater - Surface Water Coordination meeting - November 30, 2017

MPRB Surface and Groundwater Information presentation

Technical Team Meeting Minutes

Team meeting  #1 minutes - January 22, 2018

Team meeting #2 minutes - March 30, 2018

Partner Agencies

*City of Minneapolis
*Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB)
*Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MnDNR)
*Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD)
*Hennepin County
*Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES)
 Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)
 City of Richfield
 Minneapolis Saint Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission (MSP MAC)
* Denotes Technical Team Member

Last updated May 10, 2019



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