The federal Clean Water Act requires states to review their water quality standards every three years and solicit public input on the need for revising or adding to state standards. The triennial standards review (TSR) gives the public a formal opportunity to provide wide-ranging comments about water quality standards. Otherwise, opportunities for the public to comment on water quality standards are generally confined to specific, proposed rulemaking projects.
As part of the TSR, the MPCA reviews the need for water quality standards, develops a proposed work plan, and provides it to the public for review and comment. But comment is not limited to the plan: All parts of Minnesota Rules chapters 7050 and 7052 are open for the public’s review and comment during the TSR.
A key outcome of the TSR process is an updated work plan for water quality standards that guides the MPCA's standards development for the next three years. The work plan details the specific projects and a general timeline for each project. An annual update outlining the progress of the MPCA’s water quality standards work is provided each December.
Minnesota's last triennial review was completed in 2021. The next TSR will begin in late 2023 and be completed in early 2024.