Comments sought on draft report about water pollution in Pomme de Terre River watershed

Contact: Forrest Peterson, 320-441-6972

Marshall, Minn. -- A draft report about water pollution in portions of the Pomme de Terre River watershed in west-central Minnesota is open for public review and comment from Aug. 18 through Sept. 17.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study, focuses on pollution resulting from excess nutrients, E. coli bacteria, turbidity (reduced light penetration of water due to suspended solids), and low dissolved oxygen. A TMDL establishes the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body can receive on a daily basis and still meet water-quality standards.

The Pomme de Terre River watershed covers 559,968 acres in the northwestern part of the Minnesota River basin. It drains portions of six counties: Otter Tail, Grant, Douglas, Big Stone, Swift and Stevens.

Specific impairments the report identifies are four lakes with excessive algae-producing nutrients; a section of the river with low dissolved oxygen; and impairments in Dry Wood Creek from turbidity, excess phosphorus, low dissolved oxygen, and E. coli bacteria.

Excess algae and bacteria affect swimming and other aquatic recreation. Turbidity and low dissolved oxygen harm fish and other aquatic life. Low populations of fish and aquatic insects in a stream indicate biology impairments.

The MPCA study is part of a nationwide effort under the federal Clean Water Act to identify and clean up pollution in streams, rivers and lakes. Every two years, states are required to submit a list of impaired waters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

After reviewing the comments it receives, the MPCA may revise the draft TMDL report before submitting it to the EPA for approval. As part of the TMDL, a Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies plan has been developed to determine the specific work needed to restore the impaired waters.

The Pomme de Terre River Watershed TMDL draft report may be reviewed at the MPCA Marshall office, 504 Fairgrounds Road, Suite 200, or online at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/pyri1024.

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 Scott MacLean, MPCA, 12 Civic Center Plaza, Mankato, MN 56001, or sent by e-mail to scott.maclean@state.mn.us. They must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 17.

For more information, contact MacLean by e-mail or call him at 507-344-5245. More information is available also from Jared House, Pomme de Terre River Association coordinator (phone 320 589-4886, ext. 109, or e-mail jared.house@pdtriver.org).

Information on Minnesota’s impaired waters list and TMDL studies is available on the MPCA website at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/tmdl/index.html or by calling 800-657-3864.