The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is the lead agency for response to, and cleanup of agricultural chemical contamination in Minnesota. The MDA has tracked spills of agricultural chemicals and sites contaminated with agricultural chemicals since the late 1970s. The data in this collection contains information on known and potential sources of agricultural chemical soil and ground water contamination. For the purpose of mapping these incidents, the MDA has categorized them into three categories 1. Old Emergencies, 2. Small Spills and Investigations, and 3. Incident Investigations Boundaries. Additionally, investigations that have been closed with contingencies attached to them are categorized as Contingency Areas.

  • Old Emergencies: This dataset contains points and attributes for MDA Agricultural Chemical Incident Response Unit investigations which were closed prior to March 1, 2004. This data came from an internal ag chem incident database, which is known to contain errors in the locational information. This means the points and/or the attributes are likely to be in error and/or conflicting. This spatial data along with a review of the county spills report should be used to determine which case files are relevant to the user, then the actual case file should be reviewed. Users of this data are cautioned against making decisions based on this data, without reviewing the case file. Similarly, due to the errors and omissions in this data, not seeing an incident at a location of interest, does not mean that there have not been incidents at this location. See Old Emergencies Metadata.
  • Small Spills and Investigations: This dataset contains points representing small agricultural chemical spills and investigations. When entered, the attributes also describe corrective actions taken at this location. See Small Spills and Investigations Metadata.
  • Incident Investigation Boundaries: This dataset contains polygons that were created in the field with a submeter GPS, digitized from DOQ's (early 1990s flight) off of the TerraServer or from USDA FSA Color Air Photos (2002 and newer flights). The heads-up digitizing was done with a mouse over the photo, based on site maps within the Incident Case files. The areas depicted outline the approximate boundary of the area investigated. This may be larger than the entire property or smaller. See Incident Investigation Boundaries Metadata.

    Incident Investigations are further subdivided into the following program areas:

    • Awaiting Prioritization Investigation files of known or potential agricultural chemical contamination that are waiting to be prioritized.
    • Prioritized Investigation files of known or potential agricultural chemical contamination that have been prioritized and are awaiting activation.
    • Comprehensive Facility Investigation / Minnesota Environmental Response and Liability Act (MERLA) Investigation files of known or potential agricultural chemical contamination that have been activated in the MDA's Comprehensive Facility Investigation Program or are active Superfund sites under the MDA's oversight.
    • AgVIC Investigation files of known or potential agricultural chemical contamination that have enrolled in the MDA's Agricultural Voluntary Investigation and Cleanup (AgVIC) Program.
    • Agricultural Chemical Emergency Response Investigation files that were reported as emergency spills of agricultural chemicals and are large enough in size to be represented by a polygon.
  • Contingency Areas: This dataset contains polygons which were digitized from Early 1990s Digital Ortho Quad (DOQ's) Imagery from the TerraServer, or from the USDA FSA Aerial Photography. The heads up digitizing was done with a mouse over the photo, based on site maps within the incident case files. Each area depicted outlines the approximate general area (survey data from the files was not used) where a soil or ground water contingency, deed restriction, local ordinance, restrictive covenant or deed affidavit applies. The attributes are meant to be a brief overview of the contingency that applies. If the area depicted is of interest, you must see the actual casefile for details. For specific information about the types of contingencies, see the MDA IRU Incident Case File Closure Documentation web page. See Contingency Areas Metadata.

If you have questions or comments regarding the data or the mapping application, please contact Kayla Nelson at -or 651-201-6139.

How do I search?

The MDA Incident Response Unit has regulatory authority over all agricultural chemical (ag chem) incidents in Minnesota. To find information about incidents in your area, look at the following sources of information. 

  • Review the County Spill ReportThis report includes most of the incidents reported for each county, prior to May of 2008. Because we do not have accurate locations for many of our old incidents, use the information on this report to determine if any of these sites are or may be relevant. You will need to review the actual case file for more detailed information. 
  • What's In My Neighborhood? Agricultural Interactive Mapping: To review the incidents in your area of interest.
  • See Minnesota Pollution Control Agency - What's In My Neighborhood? for non-agricultural related properties that have already been investigated and cleaned up, or those currently enrolled in MPCA cleanup programs. Also included are properties that were suspected to be contaminated, but after investigation turned out to be clean.

How can I download data?

The agricultural incident data are available on the Minnesota Geospatial Commons. The Minnesota Geospatial Commons (the Commons) is a collaborative place for users and publishers of geospatial resources in Minnesota.  The agricultural incident data are available in Shapefile or ESRI Geodatabase format. The data bundles include all of the spill points and polygons on the web map, along with full metadata files for each layer. You need Geographic Information System (GIS) software in order to use the data to make maps or perform other geographic-based functions.

Looking for additional water data and information? Check out the Key Water Information Catalogue.