Contacts: Forrest Peterson, 320-214-3789
Muriel Runholt, 507-537-7137
Kylene Olson, 320-269-2139, ext. 116
Willmar, Minn. -- A public meeting will be held 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14 at the Lakeside Ballroom in Glenwood to provide information about a report on fecal coliform bacteria pollution in portions of the Chippewa River.
Improper manure application to crop land contributes the largest amount of fecal coliform to the Chippewa River, according to the report. Other sources include pastures and feedlots, wildlife, unsewered communities, stormwater and failing septic systems.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recently completed the draft Chippewa River Fecal Coliform Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report. The 2006 list of impaired waters developed by the MPCA includes nine reaches, or segments, of the Chippewa River that fail to meet the standard for human contact due to excessive amounts of fecal coliform bacteria. The report also includes a section with data showing impairment.
The report will be available for public review, and written comments will be accepted from Oct. 9 through Nov. 7. Following approval of the report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), identified pollution sources will work with local authorities such as the Chippewa River Watershed Project to develop and implement clean-up plans. Ways to reduce pollution may include preventing agricultural runoff, improving individual and community sewage treatment, and reducing urban stormwater runoff.
"It's time to take action," says Kylene Olson, director of the Chippewa River Watershed Project. "Fecal matter does not belong in our waters. Now is our chance to choose the path for reducing fecal coliform bacteria and making the Chippewa River once again safe for swimming."
The Chippewa River originates in northeast Douglas County and flows about 130 miles southwest to Montevideo where it enters the Minnesota River. Its watershed covers more that 1.3 million acres including most of Pope and Swift Counties, and portions of Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Stevens, Douglas, Grant and Otter Tail counties.
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 EPA. A TMDL study calculates the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body can receive (known as the "loading capacity") without violating water quality standards. The TMDL process identifies all sources of pollutants causing impairments and allocates reductions necessary to meet the water quality standard.
For more information about TMDL report and the meeting, contact Kylene Olson at 320-269-2139 ext. 116, or Muriel Runholt at 507-537-7137. During the public comment period Oct. 9 through Nov. 7, written comments should be submitted to Muriel Runholt, MPCA, 1420 E. College Dr., Suite 900, Marshall, MN 56258, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The draft TMDL report will be available on the Web during the public comment period at/water/tmdl/index.html#drafttmdl . The Chippewa River Watershed Project Web site can be found at http://www.chippewariver.com/.