Pollution eyed in Chisago Lakes watershed

State seeks input on plan to address excess phosphorus


The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is seeking comments on a water quality improvement report for the Chisago Lakes Chain of Lakes Watershed. The report focuses on pollution caused by excess phosphorus in nine lakes in the watershed. A public comment period runs 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. The impairment affects the lakes’ ability to support aquatic recreation including fishing, swimming and boating. Phosphorus is a necessary nutrient in lake ecology; however, too much can cause excessive algae blooms.

The report indicates that the phosphorus issue is due to one or more of these sources: watershed runoff, internal loading, atmospheric deposition (airborne pollution), feedlots and septic systems. To restore aquatic recreation uses in the lakes, the following phosphorus load reductions are needed: North Center Lake, 18 percent; South Center Lake, 21 percent; Wallmark Lake, 95 percent; Little Lake, 90 percent; Ogren Lake, 45 percent; Linn Lake, 88 percent; Pioneer Lake, 96 percent; School Lake, 88 percent; Emily Lake, 93 percent.

The 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 (EPA).

After receiving public comments, the MPCA will revise the 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 www.pca.state.mn.us or at the MPCA office at 520 Lafayette Road N. in St. Paul. Written comments should be mailed to Christopher Klucas, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Rd. N., Saint Paul, MN 55155, or sent by email to [email protected] by Nov. 21. For more information, call Klucas at (651) 757-2498.

Written comments must include (1) a statement of your interest in the draft report; (2) a statement of the action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references to sections of the draft that you believe should be changed; and (3) specific reasons supporting your position.