Contact: Dan Olson, 218-846-7390 Detroit Lakes, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is seeking comments on a water quality report for a portion of the Wild Rice River near Hendrum. The report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study, focuses on pollution caused by excess turbidity from suspended and dissolved particles. A public comment period began Sept. 15 and continues through Oct. 15, 2008. TMDL studies are 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). The studies establish 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 may revise the draft Lower Wild Rice River TMDL report. When finalized, it will be submitted to the EPA for approval. After the EPA approves the report, a plan to reduce turbidity in the river will be put together. The impaired portion of the river is located from its confluence with the south branch of the Wild Rice River to the Red River, a length of about 30.5 miles. The primary sources contributing to the excess turbidity appear to be upland soil erosion and stream-bank erosion. The impairment can also be correlated with higher water flows. A nearly 90 percent reduction in sediment will be needed to reach the turbidity water quality standard during wet conditions and high flows. The Wild Rice Watershed District and its Flood Damage Reduction Project Team are the major stakeholders creating an implementation plan to meet water quality standards for the lower Wild Rice River. The project team consists of representatives from the watershed district, state, federal and tribal agency personnel, local government officials, affected landowners and interested citizen groups. A group of best management practices will be the tools used to achieve reductions in turbidity. These practices could include the use of filter strips, natural vegetation buffers, grassed waterways, cover crops and conservation tillage. Some structural practices could be used, too, such as water- and sediment-control basins. The Lower Wild Rice River TMDL report is available for viewing on the MPCA Web site at www.pca.state.mn.us/water/tmdl/index.html. Questions and comments about the report, as well as requests for additional information, should be sent to Michael Vavricka, MPCA, 714 Lake Ave., Detroit Lakes, MN 56501. Vavricka can also be reached by phone at 218-847-1519 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Written comments on the report must include:
· a statement of your interest in the draft TMDL report;
· a statement of the action you would like 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 various issues related to TMDLs and impaired waters are available on the MPCA Web site at www.pca.state.mn.us/water/tmdl/tmdl-publications.html.