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Bemidji water to be tested

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region Park Rapids, 56470
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Bemidji is among numerous cities that will undergo groundwater testing to determine whether firefighting foam affects the cities' water supplies.

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Niles Fellows with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said the MPCA did a survey last spring about the amount of foam used by fire departments around the state.

Based on the report, complied in June, and updated in October, the MPCA chose cities that should be tested, Fellows said.

Whether a city was chosen depended on several factors such as the amount of usage and the location where the foam was used, he said, noting that if foam was used near lakes or streams, it could have environmental effects.

The foam used is Class B firefighting foam that is effective against petroleum fires.

In Bemidji, the MPCA plans to test an area where training was held on the ground of the Bemidji Regional Airport, Fellows said.

The Minnesota Department of Health also is considering testing sites where the foam was used near municipal wells, Fellows added.

The MPCA, or a consultant, will visit the sites to conduct the soil and groundwater testing, Fellows said.

Testing would likely begin this spring, he said, as water flows would need to be considered before testing is done.

After tests are complete, it will probably take four to six weeks to send the samples to a laboratory and get the results, he said.

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