MPCA seeks comments on water quality improvement report

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is seeking comments on a water-quality-improvement report for the Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes Watershed. The report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load, focuses on pollution caused by excess phosphorus in nine lakes within the watershed. A public comment period begins Oct. 22 and continues through Nov. 21.

The nine lakes on this list of impaired waters are North Center, South Center, Wallmark, Little, Ogren, Linn, Pioneer, School, and Emily. In the case of the Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes, the lake impairment affects the lake’s ability to support aquatic recreation (which includes: fishing, swimming, boating, and aesthetics). The impairment is caused by excessive nutrients in the lakes; the nutrient found to be causing the main problem is phosphorus. Phosphorus is a necessary nutrient in lake ecology; however, too much phosphorus can cause excessive algae blooms.

The TMDL report is part of a nationwide effort under the federal Clean Water Act to identify and clean up pollution in streams, rivers and lakes. Every two years, states are required to submit a list of impaired waters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A TMDL report is a scientific study that calculates the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body can receive (known as the “loading capacity”) without exceeding water-quality standards.

After receiving public comments, the MPCA will revise the TMDL report and submit it to the EPA for approval. Following EPA approval of the study, a plan will be developed to reduce pollution throughout the watershed.

The TMDL draft report is available at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/wfhya0a

or at the St. Paul MPCA office, 520 Lafayette Road N. Written comments should be mailed to Christopher Klucas, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Rd. N., Saint Paul, MN 55155, or sent by email to christopher.klucas@state.mn.us by Nov. 21, 2012. For more information, call Klucas at 651-757-2498.

Written comments must include a statement of your interest in the draft TMDL report; a statement of the action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references to sections of the draft TMDL that you believe should be changed; and specific reasons supporting your position.

More information on the state’s impaired waters list and TMDL studies is available on the MPCA’s Impaired Waters and TMDL’s webpage.

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