New Water Quality Standards for River Eutrophication and Total Suspended Solids
Example of rivers containing high levels of TSS and algae (eutrophication)
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The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s 2008 Clean Water Act Review identified a number of areas of potential amendment to the State of Minnesota water quality standards. The amendments addressed in this rulemaking are one of several rulemaking efforts that the MPCA will initiate as a result of that review process. The amendments in this rulemaking address:
- River Eutrophication - The MPCA proposes standards to address nutrient enrichment of rivers and streams, Mississippi River navigational pools and Lake Pepin (collectively referred to as “river eutrophication standards”). In developing the proposed river eutrophication standards, the MPCA followed a reasonable and well-established scientific approach that considered relevant guidance, studies, and Minnesota-specific data, while focusing on the important responsibility of protecting Minnesota’s waters from eutrophication.
- Total Suspended Solids (TSS) – The MPCA proposes amendments to replace the existing turbidity standards with regionally-based TSS standards. The proposed amendments are needed to bring State standards up to the current level of technical understanding of the impact of suspended solids on water quality and aquatic communities. The proposed TSS standards are a reasonable mechanism to recognize geographic differences and long-term, multi-year data.
- Minor “housekeeping” revisions and re-phrasings of supporting rule language- The MPCA proposes minor corrections and supporting changes in Minnesota Rule chs. 7050 and 7053, including an updated map of Minnesota Ecoregions.
Petition for Administrative Stay
The MPCA received a petition seeking an administrative stay of the June 24, 2014, decision of the MPCA Citizens’ Board. On July 22, 2014, the members of the board voted to deny that petition.
Documents related to the petition.
- Signature Document - MPCA Staff Response to Minnesota Environmental Science and Economic Review Board Petition for a Stay
- MESERB Petition for Stay and Reconsideration
- MPCA Cover Letter
- MPCA response to MESERB petition
- Attachment 1 to MPCA staff
- Attachment 2 to MPCA staff response
- Affidavit of Service
Technical Support Documents
- New eutrophication (excess nutrient) WQSs for rivers
- Minnesota Nutrient Criteria Development for Rivers — Revised draft, January 2013.
- Regionalization of Minnesota’s Rivers for Application of River Nutrient Criteria revised draft, December 2013
- Site-specific modified eutrophication WQSs for the Mississippi River pools, including Lake Pepin
- Revised turbidity WQSs using Total Suspended Solids (TSS)
Requests for comments
As part of its effort to obtain public input into this rulemaking, the MPCA has published three formal Requests for Comment, in addition to holding a number of public meetings. The comments and information submitted in response to those Requests are still part of the rulemaking record and continue to be considered in the development of the rule amendments.
Hearing and post-hearing information
A hearing on the proposed amendments was held on January 8, 2014, and the comment period closed on February 4, 2014..
Statement of Need and Reasonableness
The MPCA has prepared a Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR) regarding the proposed amendments. The SONAR is divided in four Books. Book 1 provides an overview of the Water Quality Standards, the amendments being proposed and how the MPCA has met the administrative requirements for rulemaking. Book 2 discusses the need for and reasonableness of the proposed Eutrophication standards for rivers, streams, Mississippi River pools and Lake Pepin. Book 3 discusses the need for and reasonableness of the proposed revision of the turbidity standard to a standard of Total Suspended Solids. Book 4 provides a rule by rule analysis of each of the amendments being proposed.
- SONAR Book 1 - General Information
- Book 2 - Eutrophication Standards for Streams, Rivers, Lake Pepin, and Navigational Pools
- Book 3 - Total Suspended Solids (TSS)
- Book 4 - Rule by Rule Discussion of Proposed Changes
The rule amendments being proposed are presented in Revisor’s format below. They may also be viewed as they are published in the November 18, 2013 State Register.
January 8, 2014 Public hearing exhibits and transcripts
- SONAR exhibits may be viewed at: ftp://files.pca.state.mn.us/pub/file_requests/ by clicking on TSS Eutroph exhibits
- Exhibits presented at the hearing: TSS – Eutroph Exhibits Bookmarked Compilation of Hearing Exhibits
- TSS-Eutroph Hearing Transcript AM
- TSS-Eutroph Hearing Transcript PM
- TSS-Eutroph Comments
- MPCA Staff Preliminary Response to Comments
- MPCA Final Response to Comments
- MPCA Response to Extended Comment Period
- Motion to Supplement the TSS/Eutrophication Administrative Record
- MPCA Memorandum Opposing the Motion to Supplement the Administrative Record
- Order reopening Administrative Record for Limited Period
- Comments from Reopened Administrative Record
- MPCA Rebuttal Response for Reopened Administrative Record
- Order Granting Extension to the Deadline for Completing the ALJ Report
- Report of the Administrative Law Judge
Schedule/Public Participation Opportunities
Stage of rulemaking
Request for Comments
Completed (published July 28, 2008, March 2, 2009, June 11, 2012)
Drafting of rule language/SONAR
Pre-proposal public engagement period
Pre-proposal draft rule posted on June 7, 2013
Public Comment Period/Notice Of Hearing
Notice of Hearing published in November 18, 2013, State Register. Hearings were held on January 8, 2014.
Post-Comment Period/Administrative Law Judge Review
The post-hearing public comment period is closed. The report of the Administrative Law Judge was released on May 2, 2014, and is posted in the Rulemaking Documents tab on this webpage.
Adoption of Rules
The rules were adopted at the June 24, 2014, meeting of the MPCA Citizens' Board. The MPCA Citizen’s Board will consider a petition to stay/reconsider the adoption of the rules at the July 22, 2014 meeting. A webcast of the meeting is available on the MPCA Citizens' Board page.
U.S. EPA Review and Approval
Questions about the status of the rulemaking, public meetings/hearings or how to submit comments: