MPCA seeks comments on water quality improvement report for Sauk River Chain of Lakes

Contact: Stephen Mikkelson, 218-316-3887

Brainerd, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is seeking comments on a water quality improvement report for the Sauk River Chain of Lakes in Stearns County. The report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), focuses on pollution caused by excess nutrients, mainly phosphorus, throughout the lake chain and its tributaries. The MPCA is accepting comments on the report through Dec. 26.

This report covers 14 lakes and tributaries that make up the Sauk River chain, and four more lakes connected from the south by Eden Valley Creek. During the past 25 years, a series of locally-driven partnerships have worked to dramatically reduce phosphorus loading by nearly 70 percent in this chain of lakes. But additional reductions are required to meet more recently-developed river and lake site-specific water quality standards. This report calls for phosphorus reductions of 30 to 50 percent more in the Sauk River lakes, and about 80 percent in the Eden Valley Creek lakes.

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 without exceeding water quality standards.

The draft report is available on the MPCA’s TMDL projects web page, or at the St. Paul office, 520 Lafayette Road North. Comments may be submitted to Greg VanEeckhout, MPCA, 7678 College Road, Baxter, MN, 56425, or by email to greg.vaneeckhout@state.mn.us. For more information, contact Greg at 218-316-3896, or toll-free at 1-800-657-3864.

Written comments 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.

More information on the state's impaired waters list and TMDL studies is available on the MPCA's Impaired waters and TMDLs webpage or by calling toll-free at 1-800-657-3864.