Plan to reduce mercury releases by 2025

With substantial stakeholder input, the MPCA prepared a plan to reduce mercury releases in Minnesota. This plan describes actions Minnesota will take to meet water-quality standards for mercury. This implementation plan consists of strategies to ensure that water discharges remain below 24 pounds per year and to reduce air emissions to below 789 pounds per year.

PDF icon Implementation Plan for Minnesota’s Statewide Mercury Total Maximum Daily Load

The implementation plan includes:

  • Introduction and Implementation Overview describing the basis for the plan, stakeholder involvement, implementation roles and responsibilities, and key milestones.
  • Water Implementation Strategies to ensure that total statewide mercury discharges remain below 24.2 lb./yr. This includes a permitting strategy for addressing mercury in municipal and industrial permits.
  • Air Implementation Strategies describes strategies to achieve reductions from existing sources to below 789 lb. by 2025 as well as guidelines for minimizing emissions from potential new and modified sources.
  • A Monitoring and Evaluation Plan describes the MPCA’s plan for tracking the effectiveness of this implementation plan including monitoring releases to air and water as well as tracking key environmental response indicators.

Mercury emissions 2005-2014 and air emissions reduction goal by 2025

Graph: Mercury emissions 2005-2014 and air emissions reduction goal by 2025



Approximately two-thirds of the water impairments on Minnesota’s 2014 Impaired Waters List were due to mercury. There are fish consumption advisories issued from the Minn. Dept. of Health for these water bodies. The MPCA prepared a Statewide Mercury Total Maximum Daily Load study (TMDL) that evaluated the sources of mercury and quantified the reductions needed to meet water-quality standards. The TMDL established a cap on water discharges of 24.2 lb./yr and an air emission reduction goal of 789 lb./yr.

Minnesota’s Statewide Mercury TMDL was approved by the MPCA Citizens’ Board in December 2006 and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in March 2007. The implementation plan described above details specific strategies that will be employed to achieve the goals of the TMDL.


Mercury reduction planning

The requirement to prepare and submit a mercury reduction plan is a result of new rules to reduce mercury emissions, Minn. R. 7007.0502, adopted to help make fish safe to eat for all of us. Facilities that are a “mercury source” by definition in the rule and emit more than 3 lbs. of mercury (or 5 lbs. for Industrial boilers) must complete a mercury reduction plan. Facilities that are not ferrous mining or processing must submit a plan by June 30, 2015.

A number of Minnesota facilities that emit mercury have improved mercury emission estimates and are below the threshold for submitting a plan.

Quantifying mercury emissions from cremation of dental amalgam

TMDL implementation plan

Implementation updates




States with Mercury TMDL studies

More information

For more information about mercury pollution in Minnesota and how the MPCA is addressing the problem, contact MPCA Statewide Mercury Reduction coordinator, Hassan Bouchareb, 651-757-2653.