Comments sought on draft report about water pollution in Lake Winona

Contact: Dan Olson, 218-846-8108

A draft report about water pollution in Lake Winona just outside Alexandria is open for public review and comment through Jan. 4, 2017. A public meeting will be held to discuss the report Friday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. in the Douglas County Public Works building at 526 Willow Drive in Alexandria.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) report is known as a Total Maximum Daily Load study. A TMDL study establishes the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body can receive on a daily basis and still meet water-quality standards. The Lake Winona study focused on pollution resulting from excess nutrients (mainly phosphorous) that cause excessive algae growth, which has caused the lake to be impaired for swimming and other aquatic recreation.

The study identifies all sources of phosphorous in the watershed of the lake and where reductions will have the greatest impact on restoring the lake. By far the main problem is phosphorous that has settled into lake bottom sediments that can become re-suspended in the water column due to wave action or carp stirring up the bottom. Another significant source of phosphorous is stormwater runoff, from both urban and rural areas that surround the lake. Large reductions in these sources are needed in order for the lake to eventually return to meeting the state standard.

After reviewing the comments, the MPCA may revise the draft TMDL report before submitting it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval.

The Lake Winona TMDL draft report may be reviewed at the MPCA Detroit Lakes office, 714 Lake Ave., or on the MPCA's Lake Winona TMDL Project webpage.

Written comments on the draft report must include:

  • a statement of your interest in the draft TMDL report;
  • 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
  • specific reasons supporting your position.

Written comments should be mailed to Denise Oakes,  MPCA, 714 Lake Ave., Suite 220, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501, or sent by email to They must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2017

For more information, contact Oakes by email or call her at 218-846-8119.

Information on Minnesota’s impaired waters list is available on the MPCA's Total Maximum Daily Load projects webpage or by calling 800-657-3864.