Drinking Water

Making Safe Drinking Water

Your drinking water comes from a groundwater source: five wells ranging from 468 to 531 feet deep, that draw water from the Prairie Du Chien-Jordan and Jordan aquifers.

North Saint Paul works hard to provide you with safe and reliable drinking water that meets federal and state water quality requirements. The purpose of this report is to provide you with information on your drinking water and how to protect our precious water resources.

Contact Ron Ritchie, Director of Public Works, at 651-747-2556 or ron.ritchie@northstpaul.org if you have questions about North Saint Paul’s drinking water. You can also ask for information about how you can take part in decisions that may affect water quality.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets safe drinking water standards. These standards limit the amounts of specific contaminants allowed in drinking water. This ensures that tap water is safe to drink for most people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the amount of certain contaminants in bottled water. Bottled water must provide the same public health protection as public tap water.

Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

Download the City of North St. Paul's 2022 Drinking Water Report (pdf)

North St. Paul Monitoring Results

This report contains our monitoring results from January 1 to December 31, 2022.

We work with the Minnesota Department of Health to test drinking water for more than 100 contaminants. It is not unusual to detect contaminants in small amounts. No water supply is ever completely free of contaminants. Drinking water standards protect Minnesotans from substances that may be harmful to their health.

Learn more by visiting the Minnesota Department of Health’s webpage Basics of Monitoring and testing of Drinking Water in Minnesota (https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/factsheet/sampling.html).

How to Read the Water Quality Data Tables

The tables below show the contaminants we found last year or the most recent time we sampled for that contaminant. They also show the levels of those contaminants and the Environmental Protection Agency’s limits. Substances that we tested for but did not find are not included in the tables.

We sample for some contaminants less than once a year because their levels in water are not expected to change from year to year. If we found any of these contaminants the last time we sampled for them, we included them in the tables below with the detection date.

We may have done additional monitoring for contaminants that are not included in the Safe Drinking Water Act. To request a copy of these results, call the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-4700  between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Some contaminants are monitored regularly throughout the year, and rolling (or moving) annual averages are used to manage compliance.  Because of this averaging, there are times where the Range of Detected Test Results for the calendar year is lower than the Highest Average or Highest Single Test Result because it occurred in the previous calendar year.


  • AL (Action Level): The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements that a water system must follow. EPA: Environmental Protection Agency
  • MCL (Maximum contaminant level): The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.
  • MCLG (Maximum contaminant level goal): The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.
  • N/A (Not applicable): Does not apply.
  • pCi/l (picocuries per liter): A measure of radioactivity.
  • ppb (parts per billion): One part per billion in water is like one drop in one billion drops of water or about one drop in a swimming pool. ppb is the same as micrograms per liter (μg/l).
  • ppm (parts per million): One part per million is like one drop in one million drops of water or about one cup in a swimming pool. ppm is the same as milligrams per liter (mg/l).
  • PWSID: Public water system identification.
  • Variances and Exemptions: State of EPA permission not to meet an MCL or a treatment technique under certain conditions.

Monitoring Results—Regulated Substances 2022

Lead and Copper-Tested at customer tap

Date if sampled in previous year)
Ideal Goal (MCLG)
Action Level
90% of Results
Were Less Than
Number of Homes 
with High Levels
Violation Typical 
Lead  0 ppb 90% of homes 
less than 15 ppb
2.7 ppb 0 out of 31 NO Corrosion of household plumbing

Copper 0 ppm 90% of homes less than 13 ppb 0.11 ppm 0 out of 31 No Corrosion of household plumbing

Inorganic & Organic Contaminants -Tested in drinking water

(Date, if sampled in previous year)
EPA's Ideal Goal
EPA's Limit
Average or 
Highest Single Test Result
Range of Detected 
Test Results
Violation Typical  

Nitrate 10 ppm    10.4 ppm  0.74 ppm 0.00-0.74 ppm NO Runoff from fertilizer use; 
Leaching from septic tanks, 
sewage; Erosion of natural deposits
2 ppm 2 ppm 0.03 ppm N/A No Discharge of drilling wastes; Discharge from metal refineries; Erosion of natural deposit
Combined Radium (2020) 0 pCi/l 5.4 pCi/l 3.1 pCi/l N/A No Erosion of natural deposits

Other Substances - Tested in drinking water

 (Date, if sampled in previous year)
EPA's Ideal Goal
EPA's Limit

Highest Average or
Highest Single 
Test Result
Range of Detected 
Test Results
Violation Typical Sources
Fluoride 4.0 ppm 4.0 ppm .98 ppm 0.38-0.97 ppm No Erosion of natural deposits; Water additive to promote strong teeth.

Some People Are More Vulnerable to Contaminants in Drinking Water

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. The developing fetus and therefore pregnant women may also be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water. These people or their caregivers should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

Learn More about Your Drinking Water

Drinking Water Sources

Groundwater supplies 75 percent of Minnesota’s drinking water, and is found in aquifers beneath the surface of the land. Surface water supplies 25 percent of Minnesota’s drinking water, and is the water in lakes, rivers, and streams above the surface of the land. Contaminants can get in drinking water sources from the natural environment and from people’s daily activities. There are five main types of contaminants in drinking water sources.

  • Microbial contaminants, such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Sources include sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, pets, and wildlife.
  • Inorganic contaminants include salts and metals from natural sources (e.g. rock and soil), oil and gas production, mining and farming operations, urban stormwater runoff, and wastewater discharges.
  • Pesticides and herbicides are chemicals used to reduce or kill unwanted plants and pests. Sources include agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and commercial and residential properties.
  • Organic chemical contaminants include synthetic and volatile organic compounds. Sources include industrial processes and petroleum production, gas stations, urban stormwater runoff, and septic systems.
  • Radioactive contaminants such as radium, thorium, and uranium isotopes come from natural sources (e.g. radon gas from soils and rock), mining operations, and oil and gas production.

The Minnesota Department of Health provides information about your drinking water source(s) in a source water assessment, including:

  • How North Saint Paul is protecting your drinking water source(s);
  • Nearby threats to your drinking water sources;
  • How easily water and pollution can move from the surface of the land into drinking water sources, based on natural geology and the way wells are constructed.

Find your source water assessment at Source Water Assessments (https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/water/swp/swa) or call 651-201-4700 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Lead in Drinking Water

You may be in contact with lead through paint, water, dust, soil, food, hobbies, or your job. Coming in contact with lead can cause serious health problems for everyone. There is no safe level of lead. Babies, children under six years, and pregnant women are at the highest risk.

Lead is rarely in a drinking water source, but it can get in your drinking water as it passes through lead service lines and your household plumbing system. North Saint Paul is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but it cannot control the plumbing materials used in private buildings.

Read below to learn how you can protect yourself from lead in drinking water.

  1. Let the water runfor 30-60 seconds before using it for drinking or cooking if the water has not been turned on in over six hours. If you have a lead service line, you may need to let the water run longer. A service line is the underground pipe that brings water from the main water pipe under the street to your home. 
    • You can find out if you have a lead service line by contacting your public water system, or you can check by following the steps at: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2016/06/24/npr-find-lead-pipes-in-your-home
    • The only way to know if lead has been reduced by letting it run is to check with a test. If letting the water run does not reduce lead, consider other options to reduce your exposure.
  2. Use cold water for drinking, making food, and making baby formula. Hot water releases more lead from pipes than cold water.
  3. Test your water. In most cases, letting the water run and using cold water for drinking and cooking should keep lead levels low in your drinking water. If you are still concerned about lead, arrange with a laboratory to test your tap water. Testing your water is important if young children or pregnant women drink your tap water.
  4. Treat your waterif a test shows your water has high levels of lead after you let the water run.

Learn more:

Call the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.To learn about how to reduce your contact with lead from sources other than your drinking water, visit Common Sources (https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/environment/lead/fs/common.html)

Help Protect Our Most Precious Resource—Water


Conservation is essential, even in the land of 10,000 lakes. For example, in parts of the metropolitan area, groundwater is being used faster than it can be replaced. Some agricultural regions in Minnesota are vulnerable to drought, which can affect crop yields and municipal water supplies.

You Can Prevent Pollution

Many of our daily activities contribute to the pollution of Minnesota's surface water and groundwater. You can help protect these drinking water sources by taking the following actions:

Lawn and property:

  • Limit use of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers on your property.
  • Keep soil in place with plants, grass, or rocks.
  • Cover temporary piles of dirt with a tarp or burlap sack.
  • Keep leaves and grass off of streets and sidewalks.
  • Maintain any septic systems, private wells, and storage tanks to prevent leaks. Seal any unused wells.

Out-of-date medications:

Hazardous materials:

Pet waste:

  • Pick up after your pet and put waste in the trash.


  • Seal trash bags and keep litter out of the street.

Winter ice removal:

Keep an eye out for car and motor fluids:

  • Seal or repair any fluid leaks that could run off onto streets and into storm drains. Take used motor oil or other fluids to a neighborhood drop-off site.

Be a water advocate:

  • Spread the word; get involved. There are many groups and individuals working to protect water across Minnesota.

Water systems have ongoing infrastructure, operations and maintenance costs in supplying safe drinking water, and many are implementing additional efforts to help insure health equity and manageable water bills with:

  • Turn the faucet off while brushing teeth.
  • Shower instead of bathing to reduce water use. 
  • Fix running toilets by replacing flapper valves.
  • Run full loads of laundry and use a minimal water use setting.
  • Our water system partners with others to help consumers with limited resources make payments to their water bills.
  • Contact us to learn more.