Tonight (630-830pm) in Rochester officials host the first of ten town hall meetings across Minnesota on water quality. State Health Commissioner, Doctor Ed Ehlinger says Minnesota’s drinking water is safe, although some is not as healthy as it should be, plus some areas of the state no longer have fishable and swimmable waters. Ehlinger says, “We’ve taken water for granted in this state, and we really can’t do that if we are really going to have a prosperous and healthy Minnesota.” He adds, “If we don’t improve how we use the land and upgrading our infrastructure, like pipes going into houses,… we are not going to be able to maintain our safe drinking water.” Ehlinger says some communities are facing challenges because of rising nitrate levels and have had to put in filtration systems, dig new wells and do water-blending. He says financial pressures are particularly difficult in some Greater Minnesota communities, who don’t have the large populations necessary to pay for major upgrades to water systems.
In addition to tonight’s meeting in Rochester, there are forums in Mankato and Marshall in August…Crookston, Saint Cloud, Ely and Bemidji in September…plus three meetings in the metro area from late September into early October. A complete list of times and locations is on the Environmental Quality Board’s website.
More in this interview with Ehlinger: