Contact: Stephen Mikkelson, 218-316-3887
St. Paul, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is seeking comments on a water quality improvement report for Rice Lake in southern Stearns County. The report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), focuses on pollution caused by excess nutrients in the lake. A public comment period begins Jan. 9, and continues through Feb. 8, 2012.
Located about three miles east of the city of Paynesville, Rice Lake is a 1,650-acre, rural lake that is moderately developed. The surrounding watershed is primarily agricultural.
Rice Lake was placed on Minnesota’s list of impaired waters in 2008, because of excess nutrient levels, particularly phosphorus. This TMDL study assessed nutrient levels and determined that the phosphorus load allocation for Rice Lake is 29,848 pounds per year or less, to meet state water quality standards. This represents a 50 percent reduction from the current loading to Rice Lake.
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 (EPA). 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 Rice Lake 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 Rice Lake TMDL draft report is available on the Draft/Public Noticed TMDLs webpage or at the MPCA St. Paul office, 520 Lafayette Road N. Written comments may be submitted to Maggie Leach, MPCA, 7678 College Rd, Ste. 105, Baxter, MN 56425, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, call Leach at 218-316-3895, or toll-free at 800-657-3864.
Written comments must include (1) a statement of your interest in the draft TMDL report; (2) 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 (3) 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 TMDLs webpage, or by calling 800-657-3864.