MPCA proposes new chloride requirements for managing stormwater

Contact: Mike Rafferty, 651-757-2662

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) today proposed new permit modifications for the 249 Minnesota municipalities covered under its municipal stormwater general permit. One new modification would require municipalities to address chloride pollution from de-icing salt. Some municipalities would be required to do outreach to educate businesses and institutions in their municipalities on appropriate salt use. Salt applied to roads, parking lots, and sidewalks to melt ice runs off into storm drains and is contributing to increased chloride in bodies of water around the state, which, at sufficient levels, is toxic to fish and other aquatic life.

Another proposed permit modification tightens up standards on properties being redeveloped. For instance, project proposers may be required to install stormwater treatment systems on sites where an acre or more of pavement is being replaced.  

“Managing stormwater runoff from municipal pavements is a critical part of improving and protecting water quality in Minnesota,” says Katrina Kessler, the MPCA’s Assistant Commissioner for Water. “The MPCA’s goal is to protect Minnesota’s waters while ensuring our permitting process is effective and efficient.”

The municipal stormwater general permit requires cities, townships, counties, hospitals, and other public entities that own or operate stormwater systems to develop stormwater pollution prevention programs and adopt practices that keep pollutants out of their storm sewer systems. Urban stormwater runoff can carry pollutants such as litter, oil, chemicals, metals, bacteria, sediment, and more into nearby lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands.

The general municipal stormwater permit covers multiple entities with similar operations and types of water-quality protection concerns. It is issued for five years, after which it must be reissued. A final permit is expected to be completed by late spring 2020.

The MPCA is seeking input on the proposed permit, which is open for public comment until 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. You can read the proposed permit on the MPCA website. Submit comments via the survey form, or mail or email comments to Cole Landgraf, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N, St. Paul, MN 55155.

The MPCA will hold an interactive webinar via Webex on Wednesday, Dec. 11, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to share information about the proposed permit. The agency will provide a brief presentation starting at 9:00 a.m., but the rest of the webinar will be devoted to answering questions. Find information on how to log on to the webinar on the Municipal stormwater webpage.