Contact: Cathy Rofshus: 507-206-2608
Rochester, Minn. -- The public is invited to comment on a water quality report for the Lower Vermillion River Watershed in southeastern Minnesota. Known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study, the report addresses water pollution caused by turbidity. The public comment period is March 23 through April 22, 2009.
Water quality monitoring of the Lower Vermillion River has shown that its turbidity levels frequently exceed state standards. Turbidity is a measure of water clarity and is an indicator of water quality. It is caused by suspended and dissolved matter such as clay, silt, organic matter and algae. Increased turbidity levels limit light penetration and inhibit healthy plant growth. High turbidity can make it difficult for aquatic organisms to find food, affect gill functions and damage spawning habitat.
In accordance with the Clean Water Act, waters that exceed state standards are placed on a list of polluted or impaired waters. TMDL studies are required for all waters placed on the list. A TMDL identifies the maximum amount of a pollutant that can enter a water body without causing a violation of water quality standards. The TMDL process establishes the allowable amount of pollutants and allocates portions of that load to all identified sources.
The Lower Vermillion River Watershed Turbidity TMDL is available on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's Web site at or at the MPCA Rochester office located at 18 Wood Lake Drive SE. For more information and to submit comments, contact Justin Watkins at 507-281-7763 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written comments received at the Rochester MPCA office by 4:30 p.m. on April 22, 2009, will become part of the public record. Following the comment period and approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a plan based on the TMDL report will be developed to reduce pollutant levels.