MPCA requests comments on water quality improvement report for Rice Creek watershed

Contact: Mary Connor, 651-757-2629

St. Paul, Minn.—The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is seeking feedback on a draft water quality improvement report for seven lakes in the Rice Creek watershed. Public comments will be accepted through October 21, 2014.

The seven lakes addressed in the report are located in Ramsey and Anoka counties: Little Lake Johanna, the north and south basins of Island Lake, the south basin of Long Lake, East Moore Lake, Pike Lake, and Lake Valentine.

The lakes in this study are considered impaired because they contain excess levels of phosphorus. Bodies of water with excess phosphorus are prone to frequent algae overgrowth, which interferes with swimming, fishing, and recreation. According to the report, phosphorus levels in these lakes must be reduced by up to 55 percent, depending on the lake, to meet state standards.

The predominant sources of phosphorus to the Rice Creek watershed lakes are urban stormwater runoff and release from sediment within the lakes.

The MPCA report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load report, or TMDL, is part of a nationwide effort to clean up pollution in lakes and streams. Every two years, the MPCA compiles a list of lakes and streams that are impaired and do not meet water quality standards. The purpose of a TMDL report is to quantify pollutant levels in an impaired water body, identify the sources of the pollution, and propose ways to bring water quality back to an acceptable level.

After reviewing comments from the public and obtaining approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Rice Creek Watershed District along with the cities and other partners will continue ongoing implementation efforts to improve water quality in the lakes.

The draft report may be viewed at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/0agxa04. For more information or to submit comments, contact Chris Zadak (Chris.Zadak@state.mn.us, 651-757-2837), MPCA, 520 Lafayette Rd., St. Paul, MN 55155.

Comments must be received in writing at the MPCA office by October 21, 2014. They must include an explanation of the commenter’s interest in the TMDL report, a clear statement of any recommended changes (including references to specific sections of the TMDL), and specific reasons for any proposed changes.

To learn more about impaired waters, visit the MPCA Web site at http://www.pca.state.mn.us/xggx950.