Minnesota's Impaired Waters and TMDLs
Impaired Waters List
Water quality standards are fundamental tools that help protect Minnesota’s abundant and valuable water resources from pollution. “Beneficial uses” are the uses that water resources and their associated aquatic communities provide. Under the federal Clean Water Act, states are required to monitor and assess their waters to determine if they meet water quality standards and thereby support the beneficial uses they are intended to provide. Waters that do not meet their designated uses because of water quality standard violations are impaired. States are then required to develop a list of impaired waters that require TMDL studies, and to submit an updated list to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency every even-numbered year for approval.
The Draft 2014 Impaired Waters List
Updated every two years, Impaired Waters List consists three major components: the 303(d) (TMDL) List, the Inventory of Impaired Waters, and an “Appendix A” (waterbodies part of the Statewide Mercury TMDL). The TMDL List contains impairments that require Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) “cleanup” studies. The Inventory waters includes impairments in need of TMDLs, those with completed TMDLs that have not yet been restored, ”non-pollutant” impairments, and impairments due to natural sources. Appendix A is a list of mercury impairments, mainly for fish tissue concentration exceedences but also for water column mercury concentration exceedences.
- 2014 Draft Impaired Waters List (Updated 12/9/2013) (Note that if you don’t have Excel 2010 you may not be able to view this document. Please email email@example.com for an alternative version of the List.)
- Draft 2014 TMDL (303(d)) List
- Draft 2014 Inventory of All Impaired Waters
- Draft Statewide Mercury TMDL, Appendix A (for more information see the Statewide Mercury TMDL webpage)
- A summary of impairments
- Other lists that tell you what’s new and what’s changed since the 2012 List
The draft Impaired Waters 2014 List is a product of the MPCA’s refined approach to assessment that focuses on comprehensive assessment of water quality within major watersheds. For the 2014 List, the assessed watersheds are: Bois de Sioux, Big Fork, Cannon, Crow Wing, Lake Superior – South, Little Sioux, Long Prairie, Lower Big Sioux, Minnesota – Granite Falls (Yellow Medicine and Hawk Creek), Mustinka, Mississippi – Twin Cities, Mississippi – Winona (Whitewater), Nemadji, Redeye, Rock, Sandhill, Thief, and Upper Big Sioux. Most of the changes to the Impaired Waters List since the last version in 2012 are a result of assessments in these watersheds. Most of the changes to the List since the last version are a result of assessments in these watersheds as well as statewide assessments, done in 2013, for bacteria in Large Rivers, pesticides, and nitrates in drinking water.
As part of the development of the draft 2014 303(d) Impaired Water List, the MPCA is committed to assessing waters for the 10 mg/L sulfate standard in Minnesota Rules 7050.0224, subpart 2, that protects “water used for production of wild rice during periods when the rice may be susceptible to damage by high sulfate levels.” That work is ongoing. The MPCA plans to make the results of the wild rice sulfate standard assessments available in an addendum to this version of the draft 2014 303(d) Impaired Water List.
Prior to completing the wild rice sulfate assessments the MPCA intends to public notice the criteria used to determine which waters are “water used for production of wild rice.” The MPCA will solicit public comment on the criteria from interested parties through a formal public notice and comment process in the near future. The MPCA will use the criteria that emerge from that public process to determine which waters are water used for production of wild rice and subject to assessment and potential inclusion on the draft 303(d) 2014 Impaired Waters List due to impairment of the wild rice sulfate standard.
The Guidance Manual Minnesota's monitoring and assessment strategy, assessment tools, and the redesigned assessment process. The purpose of this Guidance is to define the required data and information and lay out the criteria by which waterbodies are assessed to determine if beneficial uses are supported.
- Guidance Manual for Assessing the Quality of Minnesota Surface Waters for Determination of Impairment 305(b) Report and 303(d) List
The Final 2012 TMDL list and supporting documentation
Minnesota’s 2012 TMDL List (also known as the 303(d) List) contains 2171 impairments that require TMDL studies; 511 of those impairments are new listings. The Inventory of all impaired waters now totals 3,638, which includes impairments in need of TMDLs, those with completed TMDLs that have not yet been restored, and impairments due to natural sources. Water bodies can be listed for more than one pollutant or reach.
- 2012 Impaired Waters List (Note that if you don’t have Excel 2010 you may not be able to view this document. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for an alternative version of the List.)
- Final 2012 TMDL (303(d)) List (approved by EPA 7/25/2013)
- 2012 Inventory of All Impaired Waters
- Final Statewide Mercury TMDL, Appendix A (approved by EPA 5/31/2013)
- A summary of impairments
- Other lists that show changes since the 2010 List
- Please see our Impaired Waters Viewer for a map of all impaired waters in the 2012 List.
- EPA cover letter and decision document for the approval of Minnesota’s 303(d) list
The following report for also known as the 305(d) Narrative Report integrates 305(b) assessments, which measure attainment of standards for fishable and swimmable waters, and 303(d) listings of impaired waters.
Public meeting and public notice details
In accordance with the requirements of Section 303(d) of the Federal Clean Water Act, the MPCA will hold a series of public meetings throughout the state in December to discuss the content of the Impaired Waters List including the delistings, recategorizations, and impairments that are proposed in the list. Each meeting will be focused to discuss the assessments that have gone on in that region in the last two years which have contributed to the 2014 List. The meetings will be held at the following locations, but you can also participate live online. Email email@example.com to request the online meeting information for any one of the four meetings below.
- Thursday, Dec. 5, 10-11 a.m., MPCA Office, 525 Lake Ave., Duluth
- Tuesday, Dec. 10, 9-10 a.m., MPCA Office, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul
- Wednesday, Dec. 11, 1-2 p.m., MPCA Office, 714 Lake Ave., Detroit Lakes
- Wednesday, Dec.18, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m., MPCA Office,18 Wood Lake Dr. SE, Rochester (in conjunction with BALMM meeting)
A formal 30-day Public Comment Period is scheduled for January 2 - 31, 2014. All written comments received during that period, and Agency responses, will be forwarded to EPA, along with the final draft TMDL list and accompanying documentation for their review and approval. There is a strong preference for receiving comment letters by email, but letters by mail or fax are acceptable also. All comment letters must have postal return addresses. Submit written comments to Miranda Nichols between January 2nd and January 31st by:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
- Fax: 651-297-8324, or
- Mail: 520 Lafayette Rd N, St. Paul, MN 55155
Comments can include requests for new listings or removals from the Impaired Waters List, as well as comments on the 2014 Guidance Manual. While the MPCA’s monitoring and assessment efforts primarily follow the major watershed schedule, interested parties are able to propose additional listings outside of the watershed schedule during the public notice. To honor the watershed schedule and maintain the integrity of the systematic approach, any proposals for listing outside of the watershed schedule must 1) explain why moving forward with assessment is necessary separate from the comprehensive watershed assessment, and 2) demonstrate that the MPCA’s assessment methods were followed for the monitoring, analysis, and comparison of the data against state standards. The MPCA will review the proposal and make the determination regarding impairment and listing prior to submitting the final draft list to EPA for approval on or around April 1, 2014.
TMDL list archives
Delisting refers only to the situation for which new and reliable data or information indicates that the waterbody is no longer impaired. The delisting summary documentation gives the following information for each waterbody that is delisted: assessment unit identification (AUID), waterbody name and description, impaired use, use classification, pollutant or stressor, year first listed, year delisted, and reason for delisting.
For each waterbody that has been considered for delisting the summary documentation also provides information about any previous delisting reviews, the delisting decision, and reason for the decision.
- See the Impaired Waters Viewer for an interactive map of all delisted waters. In the ‘View available data’ window check the boxes for both ‘Delisted: restored’ and ‘Delisted: new data’.
To receive future email notices electronically, click on the “sign up” box on the upper right side of this page.
If you have further questions contact Miranda Nichols at 651-757-2614, 800-657-3864, or email@example.com.