There are over 400 registered public water systems in Crow Wing County. The state of Minnesota requires that all public water systems have some sort of wellhead protection. The type of wellhead protection varies depending on the size of the system. At a minimum, a 200-foot buffer around public wells must be analyzed and managed for contamination. For larger systems, a full wellhead protection plan is developed which identifies the boundaries of the wellhead protection area and drinking water supply management areas (which is the political boundary of the wellhead protection area). Generally, the wellhead protection area includes the surrounding recharge areas where water has an estimated time of travel of 10 years to reach the well. The wellhead protecion plan also assesses the vulnerability of the well(s) in this area, and creates a plan of action for wellhead protection, including contingencies. Specific reports, called "Source Water Assessments," are also produced by the Minnesota Department of Health and summarize all the information available regarding the water sources used by a public water system.
Over the past several years, there have been a number of local municipalities that worked with the Minnesota Department of Health to develop wellhead protection plans, including Baxter, Brainerd, Crosby, Cuyuna, Deerwood, Ironton, Pequot Lakes, Riverton, and Trommald. Crow Wing County staff participated on a number of these Wellhead Protection teams as they worked through developing and implementing their plan. The 2013 to 2023 Water Plan Revision incorporated by reference all of these local Wellhead Protection Plans.