Media Contact: Alexis Donath, 651-757-2120
St. Paul, Minn. -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is seeking feedback on a draft water quality improvement report for Sweeney Lake in Golden Valley. The MPCA has identified Sweeney Lake as an impaired water body because it contains high levels of phosphorus, a naturally-occurring nutrient for plants and algae. Lakes with excess phosphorus are prone to frequent algae overgrowth, which interferes with swimming, fishing, and recreation.
MPCA found that about two-thirds of phosphorus pollution in Sweeney Lake comes from stormwater. Phosphorus levels in stormwater rise when leaves, grass clippings, and fertilizers are allowed to wash into storm sewers. In developed areas, such as the land surrounding Sweeney Lake, paved surfaces contribute to phosphorus loading because they divert water (and phosphorus-containing organic material) directly into streams and lakes, without the benefit of natural filtration.
The MPCA report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load report, or TMDL, is part of a nationwide effort to clean up pollution in lakes and streams. Every two years, the MPCA compiles a list of lakes and streams that do not meet federal water quality standards. For each of these “impaired waters”, the MPCA prepares a TMDL report, which quantifies pollutant levels, identifies sources of pollution, and proposes ways to bring water quality back to an acceptable level.
After reviewing comments from the public and obtaining approval from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the MPCA and local organizations will work out a specific plan for improving Sweeney Lake’s water quality.
The draft Sweeney Lake TMDL report may be viewed at www.pca.state.mn.us/veiza07 . For more information or to submit comments, contact Brooke Asleson (e-mail Brooke.Asleson@state.mn.us; phone 651-757-2205), MPCA, 520 Lafayette Rd., St. Paul, MN 55155.
Comments must be received in writing at the MPCA office by close of business April 13. They must include an explanation of the commenter’s interest in the TMDL report, a clear statement of any recommended changes (including references to specific sections of the TMDL), and specific reasons for any proposed changes.
For information on issues related to TMDLs and impaired waters, visit the MPCA website at: www.pca.state.mn.us/water/tmdl.