Contact: Forrest Peterson, 320-441-6972
Marshall, Minn. -- A second public comment period begins Feb. 8 and continues through March 10, 2010 on a revised report addressing water pollution in Lake Shaokatan in western Lincoln County. The report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study, focuses on pollution caused by high levels of phosphorus, contributing to excessive algae growth.
After an earlier comment period yielded 65 responses, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the local sponsor, the Yellow Medicine River Watershed District, revised the report. A summary of the changes and revised report can be found at www.pca.state.mn.us/water/tmdl/project-lakeshaokatan.html.
Minnesota TMDL reports are part of a nationwide effort under the federal Clean Water Act to identify and clean up pollution in streams, rivers and lakes. A TMDL report establishes the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body can receive without exceeding water-quality standards. After receiving public comments, the MPCA may revise the draft report before sending it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approval.
Lake Shaokatan has been the subject of several investigations resulting in a large amount of historical data. Although there is substantial year-to-year variability, the overall water quality of the lake has improved in recent years, likely due to changes in land use and watershed residents’ efforts to protect the lake.
The revised report indicates that Lake Shaokatan, depending on conditions, needs up to a 65 percent reduction in phosphorus to meet water quality standards. Sources of phosphorus to Lake Shaokatan include runoff from land throughout the watershed, noncompliant septic systems and atmospheric deposition. Phosphorus can also be released from lake sediments when they get disturbed. A portion of the phosphorus loading could be considered “natural” in that some of the sources would have occurred prior to the area being settled.
Written comments on the draft TMDL report must be sent by 4:30 p.m. on March 10, 2010, to Kelli Daberkow, MPCA, 1420 E. College Dr., Ste. 900, Marshall, MN, 56258. 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; and 3. The reasons supporting your position, stated with sufficient specificity as to allow the Commissioner to investigate the merits of your position.
The MPCA will prepare responses to comments, and make any necessary revisions of the draft TMDL report. It is available for review at the MPCA Marshall office, or on the Web at www.pca.state.mn.us/water/tmdl/project-lakeshaokatan.html.
Following EPA approval of the study, a plan will be developed to direct efforts toward restoring the lake to water quality standards. For more information about the TMDL study, contact Kelli Daberkow, MPCA-Marshall, 507-476-4251; or Cindy Potz, Yellow Medicine River Watershed District, 507-872-6720. More information on the state’s impaired waters list and TMDL studies is available on the MPCA Web site at www.pca.state.mn.us/water/tmdl/index.html.