Contact: Cori Rude-Young, 651-757-2680
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is seeking comments on a water quality improvement report for Wirth Lake, located in Golden Valley, Minn. The report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study, focuses on pollution caused by excess nutrients. A public comment period begins Aug. 2 and continues through Sept. 1, 2010.
Wirth Lake is part of the Wirth Lake watershed. The 347-acre lake is a popular recreational water body used extensively for swimming, fishing, non-motorized boating and aesthetic viewing. The lake is surrounded by significant wetland vegetation which provides excellent wildlife habitat.
The lake was placed on the state’s impaired waters list because of excess nutrient levels, particularly phosphorus. While phosphorus is an essential nutrient for algae and plants, it is considered a pollutant when it stimulates excessive growth of algae or aquatic plants.
The TMDL study indicated that the overall phosphorus load to Wirth Lake will need to be reduced by 33 percent, or 48 pounds, in order to achieve the TMDL load allocation of 99 pounds.
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. It 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. Every two years, states are required to submit a list of impaired waters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
After receiving public comments, the MPCA will revise the draft Wirth Lake TMDL report and submit it to the EPA for approval. Following approval of the study, a plan will be developed to reduce phosphorus pollution in the lake.
A link to the Wirth Lake TMDL draft report is available at www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/water/water-types-and-programs/minnesota-s-impaired-waters-and-tmdls/tmdl-projects/upper-mississippi-river-basin-tmdl-projects/upper-mississippi-river-basin-tmdls.html. Copies are also available at the MPCA St. Paul office, 520 Lafayette Road North. Comments may be submitted to Brooke Asleson, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN 55155. For more information, contact Asleson at 651-757-2205.
Written comments must include the following:
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;
3. Specific reasons supporting your position.
More information on the state's impaired waters list and TMDL studies is available on the Web at www.pca.state.mn.us/water/tmdl/index.html, or toll-free at 1-800-657-3864.