Pollution Control Agency seeks feedback on quality improvement report
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is seeking feedback on a draft water quality improvement report for three streams and four lakes within the Sunrise River watershed. Public comments are encouraged through Dec. 3. The MPCA compiles a list of impaired lakes and streams every two years.
The watershed encompasses eight cities, including Forest Lake, North Branch, East Bethel, and Lindstrom. The four lakes—Linwood, Second, Vibo, and White Stone—and the west branch of the Sunrise River have been identified as impaired due to excess levels of phosphorus. The Sunrise River, from the confluence of its north branch to the St. Croix River, and Hay Creek are impaired because of the presence of excess E. coli bacteria. Bodies of water with excess phosphorus are prone to frequent algae overgrowth, which interferes with swimming, fishing and recreation. Excess E. coli poses a possible health risk to people using the water for drinking or recreation.
The report indicates that to meet water quality standards, phosphorous levels in the impaired bodies of water must be reduced by 12 to 93 percent, and E. coli bacteria levels must be lowered by as much as 87 percent in some areas.
The MPCA report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load report, is part of a nationwide effort to clean up pollution in lakes and streams. The report quantifies pollutant levels in an impaired water body, identifies the sources of the pollution, and proposes ways to bring water quality back to an acceptable level.
After reviewing comments from the public and obtaining approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the MPCA and other local organizations will work out a specific plan for improving water quality in the Sunrise River watershed. That plan will be released for public comment at a later date.
The draft report may be viewed at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/zihya01. For more information or to submit comments, contact Christopher Klucas of the MPCA at Christopher.Klucas@state.mn.us, 651-757-2498, or 520 Lafayette Rd., St. Paul, MN 55155.
Written comments must be received by Dec. 3. They must include an explanation of the commenter’s interest in the TMDL report, a clear statement of any recommended changes including references to specific sections of the TMDL, and specific reasons for any proposed changes.