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Posted on: June 27, 2022

Elevated lawn-watering restrictions possible this summer

Spray Sprinker

Last summer, the Department of Natural Resources issued a drought designation for most of the state, including Woodbury, and required municipal water systems in these areas to reduce water use. The City of Woodbury responded quickly by elevating its regular time-of-day and odd/even lawn-watering restrictions and reduced water use by at least 120 million gallons between the end of July 2021 through first week of September 2021.

While the drought conditions have receded, Woodbury and other East Metro communities continue to respond to significant water-related challenges, including source water contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Specifically, nine of Woodbury's wells have been removed from service since 2017 following receipt of health advisories from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) due to detected levels of PFAS. Additionally, PFAS levels in another city well(s) may receive health advisories from MDH at some point in the future and result in removal of that/those well(s) from service. Woodbury's drinking water continues to meet state standards and guidelines for PFAS.

The city is taking several actions to minimize the impact of PFAS to production capacity. This work includes:

  • the construction of a temporary water treatment plant that returned four wells with health advisories back into service in 2020; 
  • expansion of the temporary water treatment plant with the goal of bringing two additional wells back into service in 2022; and
  • drilling two new wells to begin operating in 2022 and 2023; and
  • supporting water use efficiency efforts in the community. 

Unfortunately, these actions - while being completed expeditiously - take time. Should drought conditions return and or demand increases to production capacity limits, additional lawn-watering restrictions may be needed this summer to avoid a loss of water pressure in the system. 

Elevated increased lawn-watering restrictions will only be implemented if they are needed to maintain pressure in the system and manage water demand. The restrictions would likely limit lawn watering to two days per week for residential properties, and one day per week for businesses. Lawn watering would continue to be prohibited between noon and 5 p.m. every day; this existing standard includes homeowners associations. The specific restrictions will be communicated if/when implemented, and the elevated restrictions would remain in effect until the water system can be confidently and reliably managed to meet demand.

If the elevated restrictions are needed, temporary signage will be placed around the community. You can also register to receive updates from the city's CodeRED emergency calling and texting system or text "WashingtonMN" to 99411. Information also will be shared on the city's website, social media channels, and InTouch email notification system.

How you can help

The public can help avoid elevated lawn-watering restrictions by practicing efficient water use. Remember, 1 inch of water per week, including rainfall, is all you need for a healthy lawn. Also, water wisely by installing a smart irrigation controller on your irrigation system. They are available from the city at a reduced rate. Review more water-saving tips and/or purchase a smart controller.

The City Council will be hosted virtual listening sessions about water quality on June 28 and June 30. Watch a recording from the June 30 session.

For more information, including a list of frequently asked questions about the increased watering restrictions, contact Woodbury Public Works at 651-714-3720 or send an email

Additional Info about PFAS...
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