MPCA extends comment period on water quality report for three Osakis-area lakes

Contact: Steve Mikkelson, 218-316-3887

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has extended the public comment period on a water quality improvement report for Smith Lake, Faille Lake and Lake Osakis, located in parts of Douglas and Todd counties in central Minnesota.  The report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), focuses on pollution caused by excess nutrients, mainly phosphorus, throughout these lakes.  The public comment period, scheduled to end Jan. 4, is now open through Feb. 3, 2017.

Land use in this area is nearly 70% agriculture, both row crops and animal feedlots. The report identifies agricultural runoff as the main source of phosphorus loading to these lakes. Other sources include failing septic systems and roadway runoff.

The outlet of Lake Osakis represents the headwaters of the Sauk River. This report calls for phosphorus reductions of 35% in Smith Lake, 70% in Faille Lake, and 38% in Lake Osakis.

The TMDL report 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. A TMDL report is a scientific study that calculates the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body can receive, known as the "loading capacity," without exceeding water quality standards.

The draft report is available on the MPCA’s TMDL projects webpage, or at the St. Paul office, located at 520 Lafayette Road North. Comments may be submitted to Scott Lucas, MPCA, 7678 College Road, Baxter, MN, 56425, or by email to scott.lucas@state.mn.us. For more information, contact Lucas at 218-316-3874, or toll-free at 800-657-3864.

Written comments must include the following:
1. A statement of your interest in the draft TMDL report;
2. 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
3. Specific reasons supporting your position.

More information on the state's impaired waters list and TMDL studies is available on the agency’s Impaired Waters List webpage or toll-free at 1-800-657-3864.