Backflow Prevention for Residential Irrigation Customers
Backflow is the reverse flow of non-potable water, contaminants or other substances into the treated (potable) drinking water system.
Backflow devices are required on irrigation systems to prevent water that’s been released into irrigation systems from being drawn back into the home or possibly SPU’s water supply with contaminants, such as, stagnant water, chemicals or fertilizers.
MN Plumbing Code requires these backflow devices be tested annually by a certified tester or licensed plumber.
Click below to learn more.Backflow Prevention
SPU maintains seasonal water restrictions May 1 through September 30th.
If your address number is an even number, sprinkle or irrigate on even days only. If your address number is an odd number, sprinkle or irrigate on odd days only.
No watering allowed between noon and 5:00 p.m. for any address.
See below for watering tips and practices.
Safe Drinking Water
Groundwater/wellhead protection is a means of safeguarding public water supply wells by preventing contaminants from entering the area that contributes water to the well or well field over a period of time. The following items are things that everyone can do to help prevent groundwater contamination.
Shakopee Public Utilities has completed the development of their Wellhead Protection Plan. This plan is designed to protect the groundwater aquifers that supply the Shakopee municipal drinking water wells. The plan identifies potential sources of contamination that could pollute local groundwater wells and enter the community’s water supply. The goal of this plan is to help ensure that Shakopee Public Utilities continues to provide its customers with a safe and abundant supply of clean drinking water for generations to come. Wells can become polluted when substances that are harmful to human health get into the groundwater. Water from these wells can become dangerous to drink when the level of pollution rises above health standards. Fortunately, Shakopee Public Utilities’ water supply currently meets (and exceeds) all State and Federal drinking water standards. We regularly sample the water from our wells and provide an annual Consumer Confidence Report to residents.
The Wellhead Protection Plan can only be successful if residents play a role in helping to protect the aquifer. To help us implement our plan, you can do the following:
- Help identify land uses and potential sources of contamination on your property (wells, tanks, septic systems, hazardous wastes, etc).
- Make sure any potential sources of contamination under your control meet local, state, and federal regulations.
- Seal any unused wells on your property, according to Minnesota Well Code. See the Minnesota Department of Health website for more information. Owners of active wells should refer to the Well Owner’s Handbook for proper construction, maintenance, and sampling information.
- Use hazardous products only as directed and dispose of them properly when no longer needed. Visit the Scott County website for information on handling and disposal of wastes, including information on the Scott County Household Hazardous Waste Facility.
- Practice proper turf management techniques and avoid over-fertilization of your lawns and gardens. Visit the Minnesota Department of Agriculture website for more information.
- Identify whether your property contains a Class V injection well. Information about Class V wells can be found on the EPA’s website. If you have a Class V well on your property, make sure you follow all EPA rules regarding these wells.
- Conserve water whenever possible. Lawn watering is one of the largest uses of municipal water during summer months. Tips for conserving water, while maintaining a healthy lawn, are included here.
- Report spills (or illegal dumping) of hazardous wastes, fuels, or chemicals to law enforcement.
Some other ideas for protecting our wellhead:
- Absorbent: Always keep absorbent (oil dry) on hand to clean up spills and drips. You can also use cat litter or sawdust. Dispose of the used absorbent in a trash bag.
- Engine Oil: A gallon of used oil can contaminate up to one million gallons of drinking water. When changing the oil or other fluids in your vehicles, collect the fluids in leak-proof containers and take them to a recycling center.
- Paint: Use lead-free paint that does not contain mercury or mercuric compounds. Latex or water-based paints are safer than oil-based. If you have extra paint after a project, share it with a neighbor or contact Scott County Household Hazardous Waste for proper disposal.
- Abrasive cleaner: Mix salt, baking soda and water into a paste.
- Bleach: Substitute borax.
- Disinfectants: Mix 1/2 cup borax plus 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol in 1-gallon hot water. NEVER mix bleach and ammonia.
- Fabric Softener: Add 1/2 cup baking soda to final rinse.
- Laundry Stains: Use club soda to remove fresh blood stains and chocolate stains. Rub buttermilk into grass stains – wash as normal.
- Oven Cleaners: Dampen grimy spots and sprinkle with salt while oven is still warm. Scrape after oven cools. Greasy spots can be scrubbed with straight vinegar or a paste of baking soda and water.
- Pet Stains: Rub with 1/4 cup dish detergent in 1/4 cup vinegar. Blot dry, rinse with water.
- Silver Polish: Soak in baking soda and buttermilk, brush with toothpaste or boil for 3 minutes in 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt and a piece of aluminum foil. Rinse well in water and dry with a soft cloth.
- Toilet Cleaner: Use borax and a toilet brush.
- Window Cleaner: Mix 2 tablespoons of sudsy ammonia plus 3 drops of dish detergent in 1 quart of water. Or, use diluted white vinegar in a spray bottle. HINT – use microfiber towels for windows. Never wash them with cottons (they’ll pick up lint) and never use fabric softener on them. The fabric softener will streak your windows if you do.
- Collect and Reuse Rainwater: During a normal rainfall hundreds of gallons of water will run off a typical residential roof which will pass through gutters and into yards and storm drains. The water can pick up contaminants such as fertilizers, pesticides, automotive fluids, dirt and debris. Storm water is not treated and can carry these pollutants straight into rivers, ponds or lakes. Rain barrels can capture an amount of this water and reduce pollutants getting into waterways.
- Fertilizers: Fertilizers contain nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. The numbers on a fertilizer bag reflect the amount of these chemicals contained. A label of 10-1-4 contains 10% nitrogen, 1% phosphorous and 4% potassium. Nitrogen is the most important lawn nutrient but it can contaminate groundwater. Phosphorus can contaminate rivers, lakes and ponds causing excessive weed and algae growth. If you choose to fertilize choose a fertilizer high in Water Insoluble Nitrogen (WIN). WIN is released slowly and helps prevent “lawn burn” and groundwater contamination. WIN fertilizers cost more but they are worth it.
- Weed Control: Dandelions – dig them out. Digging 4 to 5 inches of the root will usually kill them. Crabgrass – Keep your lawn tall, at least 3 inches to shade out crabgrass. Apply crabgrass killer only when you have noticeable problems and spot treat the crabgrass, not the entire lawn. Also avoid fertilizing in July and August, this tends to grow crabgrass better than it does the lawn. Natural Weed Killer – 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of baby shampoo, 1 tablespoon of gin, 1 quart of warm water. Combine all of these ingredients into a bucket and then pour into a handheld sprayer. Drench the weeds with the solution.
This Safe Drinking Water information is sponsored in part by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Health
Shakopee Public Utilities uses the unidirectional flushing method. We control the direction of the water flowing through the mains by changing the valving in the street instead of just opening a hydrant and letting it flow. In this way, we can scour the mains in two directions to remove the maximum amount of sediments and minerals. This method of flushing will use less water and remove more aesthetically undesirable minerals such as iron and manganese.
Flushing can also save money on chemicals. Some of the minerals that cling to the walls of the watermains can also reduce the amount of chlorine in the water that is necessary to prevent harmful bacteria. By keeping our watermains clean we will not need to add additional chlorine to the system.
Our flushing season is from April until November. We will place signs at the major entrances to a neighborhood a few days prior to flushing. Flushing will take place between 7:30 am and 4:00 pm. While these signs are up it is advisable that you make sure your water is clear before washing any light-colored clothing. Simply run some water into a clear glass to see if there is any discoloration.
If you have any questions about our flushing program please call (952) 233-1503.
The University of Minnesota is a great resource for smarter irrigation practices. Take some time to browse their website and read the materials linked on this page to learn how to save money and water.
With a hardness of 21 Grains per Gallon, Shakopee is classified as having “Very Hard” water.
Hard water requires more soap and synthetic detergents for home laundry and washing, and can cause scale buildup. Calcium and magnesium are the two most common minerals that make water “hard”.
Water Leaks – High Usage
How to Find a Toilet Leak
Fixing a Toilet Leak
Homeowners are responsible for all water usage, even if it results from a leak.
You may be able to hear a leak before you can see it so listen carefully for water flow. Common leak sources may include toilets, water softener malfunctions, indoor and outdoor faucets, humidifiers attached to furnaces, and/or irrigation systems. If you cannot find or fix the leak yourself you may need to hire a plumber to resolve the issue.
A leaking toilet can waste up to 600 gallons of water per day.Report a Water Problem
Water Service Line Repairs
Homeowners are responsible for water service line repairs. The homeowner’s responsibility for the water service line is everything in the home out to and including the connection to the water main out in the street. In the event of a line leak and/or break the expense for the repair is the homeowners. While infrequent, these are expensive costs to incur.
Please check with your homeowner insurance provider for optional insurance coverage.
Frozen Pipes – How to Prevent
There are three things that lead to the majority of frozen pipe problems:
- Sudden drops in temperature.
- Bad or no insulation where needed.
- Thermostats set too low.
- Insulate your water pipes in unheated areas of your house. Crawl spaces and attics are likely areas where pipes could freeze.
- Heat tape can be used to protect pipes. Read the packaging and follow the manufacturer’s directions.
- Seal leaky areas that allow cold air to come into unheated areas near your water pipes.
- Disconnect garden hoses and turn off the valves for the outside connections where possible. Drain the pipes to outdoor faucets if your plumbing allows.
- During extreme cold, it could be beneficial to allow a small drip of warm and cold water to come from a faucet near an outside wall.
- If you have a dishwasher consider setting it up to wash or rinse on a delay so that it uses water during the wee hours of the morning.
- Be careful about turning down your thermostat too low at night. Place a thermometer near your water pipes in questionable areas and see how cold it gets during set-back periods on your thermostat.
- Open cabinet or closet doors that conceal water pipes. Especially on outside walls. This will allow room heat to get to the pipes.
- Do not set the thermostat lower than 55°.
- Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house each day to make sure that your furnace is working.
- Consider shutting off the water and draining the pipes for extended vacations. Contact a plumber for the details if you are not sure of the procedure.
Water used as a result of a frozen pipe break is the homeowner’s/SPU account holder’s responsibility.
MN Dept of Health – Statement on Water Safety
Per Tannie Eshenaur, Planning Director/Drinking Water Protection of the Environmental Health Division at the Minnesota Department of Health, Shakopee city water meets all the requirements of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, including the drinking water standard for nitrate.
The drinking water standard for nitrate is 10 milligrams per liter (10 mg/L or 10 parts per million). The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) works in collaboration with the city utility to carefully watch water quality trends and take steps to prevent any violation of safe drinking water standards long before contaminant levels reach the limit. Together, they also take steps to protect the land area that drains to the city water supply (Drinking Water Supply Management Area) to keep contaminants out of the water and prevent additional treatment costs. Often that land is outside the city boundaries and may include both public and private land, making land use changes to protect the water supply challenging.
Under Minnesota’s new Groundwater Protection Rule, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) restricts the application of nitrogen fertilizer applied to cropland in the fall and on frozen soils in Drinking Water Supply Management Areas where public wells have nitrate at or above 5.4 mg/L, which is lower than the drinking water standard. The restrictions begin September 1st of each year. Given the amount of development that has occurred in the Shakopee area in recent years, cropland acres and the associated fertilizer applications have likely decreased over time. If there are more questions about the Groundwater Protection Rule, you can contact our colleague at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Larry Gunderson (651-201-6168; [email protected]).