By Jeff Wagner

COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. (WCCO) — The summer heat couldn’t come at a worse time for one Twin Cities suburb.

Cottage Grove has been on a temporary watering restriction for a couple weeks now.

City leaders ordered it as they ensure the water supply.

That’s to fit new state health guidelines about industrial chemicals that got in the groundwater.

On a hot day in Cottage Grove, relief was drying up.

The splash pad was a desert. No sprinklers were splashing on lawns. But just beyond the back gate at the Bergeson house, comfort has been pooling up.

“We filled it at the end of April, early May,” Mike Bergeson said of his pool.

Filling it up that early was important because on May 23 the city banned watering. People have been asked to not water their grass, wash cars in their driveways, or fill their pools which is a thought Jill Bergeson doesn’t even want to imagine.

“That’s my happy place,” she said of the pool.

What would also make her and her neighbors happy is knowing when the restrictions will be lifted. Original projections were 4-6 weeks, but Mayor Myron Bailey admits that might change.

“We’re probably saying mid, early to mid-July is what we’re thinking so it might be a little bit longer depending on what we’re hearing,” he said.

Mayor Bailey said the state is working to install a new filtration system for the city’s water supply to fit new health guidelines about industrial chemicals that got in the groundwater.

They’ve also drained some wells, leading to the ban and some creative ways for people to conserve.

“Everything from putting a bucket of water in your shower when you’re taking a shower and using that water to water outside to rain barrels,” he said.

The Bergesons have yet to reach those extremes. “I think we’ll be OK if we get a shot of rain now and then,” said Mike.

Until then he might have to break the rules a little bit, like when he watered a patch of growing grass that started as seeds months earlier.

“Just to keep it going because it was looking pretty tough,” he said of the patch. He and his wife are also being careful about how they water their vegetable garden.

“Instead of watering all the ground around them, you get only water right around the plant so you cut your water usage down substantially,” he said.

Mayor Bailey said they haven’t had to fine anyone for breaking the ban. He said right now it’s more important to make sure people are aware it exists and how to follow the rules.

For more information on the ban, click here.


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