Sometime in July 2022, Kyle Andersen of Ham Lake, Minn., noticed something strange. The hose would run dry after five minutes when he was watering his garden.
Then his entire water supply disappeared.
“It would take hours to catch back up again. We wouldn’t have water in our house. You couldn’t even go in and take a shower,” he said. Water would fluctuate lasting “maybe 10 or 15 seconds.”
Anderson reached out to a well drilling company and learned he was not alone in suffering from water supply issues. The company’s representatives told him their phone was ringing off the hook. Other nearby residents had suffered similar fates.
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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources launched an investigation a month later into the high number of well interference cases in Ham Lake and Blaine, Minn.
Earlier this week, the DNR concluded the City of Blaine’s water supply wells had interfered with 47 domestic wells.
According to the DNR, “a well interference occurs when a pump draws groundwater from a well (typically a deep well of a higher volume water user), causing the water level in the surrounding aquifer to go down and resulting in a lack of water available to shallower wells (typically private domestic wells).” 
The city had been operating four wells, three without permits.vThe DNR also found two golf course irrigation wells were each “minor contributors” in two cases. The total cost to the 47 domestic well owners was $97,000.
Dan Schluender, director of engineering for the City of Blaine, said it was a misunderstanding. The city, he explained, had received a formal permit from the DNR for just one of the wells in the area in question.
“And it was misunderstood that all four were included on that so that is how all four wells were operational,” Schuluender said. “When it was discovered the DNR let us know and we shut those other three wells off and have been shut off since that until this gets resolved.” 
Blaine has experienced a burst of development in recent years so many residents called officials to complain about the water issues. They were directed to the DNR to file complaints. Some residents wonder what the water situation will be like when people start to occupy the new homes.
The DNR also found two golf course irrigation wells were each “minor contributors” in two cases.
All of the affected private well owners have since had their water restored, and the DNR says it’s working with all parties on a settlement. A settlement could include compensation for costs, a reduction in permit fees or a contested case hearing.
Folks like Andersen paid up front to get his water restored. He needed a new well pump to replace the one he had that was damaged from running dry. The pump also needed to be dropped down to 60 feet. The well also required new PVC piping. The cost to Andersen was $1,570.
Twenty-four of the complaints filed in 2022 are still under investigation by the DNR.