St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is seeking comments on a water quality improvement report for the Upper Mississippi Basin’s Clearwater River; County Ditch 44 to Lake Betsy, just south of Kimball, Minn. The report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study, focuses on pollution causing low dissolved oxygen levels. A public comment period begins Aug. 2, and continues through Sept. 1, 2010.
This section of the Clearwater River was placed on Minnesota’s list of impaired waters in 2004 when monitoring data indicated that dissolved oxygen levels frequently fell below state standards, which can have an adverse impact aquatic life.
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 draft TMDL report and submit it to the EPA for approval. A watershed-wide implementation plan has been developed by the Clearwater River Watershed District and local partners. The implementation plan contains strategies to help restore oxygen levels in the Clearwater River so it will again support the aquatic life use and meet state standards.
The Clearwater River; County Ditch 44 to Lake Betsy Dissolved Oxygen TMDL draft report is available on the Web 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/approved-tmdl-clearwater-river-watershed-low-dissolved-oxygen-fecal-coliform-and-lake-nutrients.html, or at the St. Paul office, 520 Lafayette Road North.
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, contact Leach at 218-316-3895, or toll-free at 1-800-657-3864.
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 by call toll-free at 1-800-657-3864.