Sign in to the public meeting on this TSR: March 9 (3:30 p.m.)

2020-2021 triennial standards review

The 2020-2021 triennial standards review (TSR) of Minnesota’s water quality standards is underway. (State Register notice, Jan. 19, 2021)

The TSR is an opportunity for the public to provide input on the need for changes to Minnesota’s water quality standards – either new standards or revisions to existing standards. The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requires that states review their WQS every three years and amend and update them if necessary. (Note: Rulemaking to implement revisions to state WQS is conducted separately from the TSR.)  

All parts of Minnesota Rules chapters 7050 and 7052 are open for the public’s review and comment.

Chapter 7050 includes provisions to protect Minnesota's waters from pollution, including:

  • A classification system of designated beneficial uses for both surface water and groundwater (e.g., drinking water, aquatic life and recreation, etc.), and a listing of specifically classified water bodies.
  • Numeric and narrative WQS that protect these beneficial uses.
  • Antidegradation provisions.
  • Provisions for the protection of wetlands.
  • Methods for the determination of site-specific criteria for toxic pollutants.
  • Other provisions related to the protection of surface water and groundwater from point and nonpoint source pollution.

Chapter 7052 provides standards specific to surface waters in the Lake Superior Basin.  Chapter 7052 establishes aquatic life, human health, and wildlife WQS and criteria based on the EPA’s Great Lakes Initiative, anti-degradation standards and procedures for deriving effluent limitations from these standards and criteria.

Minn. R. chs. 7050 and 7052 also include procedures and requirements for issuing variances to state WQS. During the TSR the public may comment upon active variances that have been granted by the MPCA.

In addition, the MPCA requests information and opinion from the public on modified Class 2 and Class 7 water bodies (a.k.a., limited resource value waters or LRVWs) that may be able to attain higher use classes.

Details about the subjects open for comment, including the MPCA’s proposed water quality standards work plan for 2021 to 2023, are available on the sidebar links of this webpage.

Provide comment

The MPCA wants your input about what updates are needed for the state’s water quality standards, including information of what standards revisions would support the agency’s strategic plan goals around environmental justice and climate change resilience. Comments are requested from all parties with an interest in or information about Minnesota's lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands and groundwater. Submit written comments or information by 4:30 pm on Friday, April 9, 2021. All written comments submitted by this time will become part of the TSR record.

Please send comments by mail or e-mail. Electronic submissions are preferred.

By email:

By mail: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; Attn: Catherine O’Dell; 520 Lafayette Road North; St. Paul, MN 55155-4194

Public meeting: March 9 (3:30 p.m.)

The MPCA will hold a virtual public meeting to provide information on the TSR and accept comments.

The online-only meeting will be held via Webex and can be accessed by computer or tablet, or by phone. Log-in and call-in information are provided.

File Webex: Public meeting on the triennial standards review - March 9 (3:30 p.m.)

March 9 (3:30 to 6 p.m. or until all parties present are heard, whichever occurs first.)
Meeting number (access code): 146 409 0600; password: dgPRGYPb274
Join by phone: +1-415-655-0003; access code: 146 409 0600

If you need an accommodation to make the public meeting hearing accessible, please contact Catherine O’Dell:, 651-757-2621 or 800-657-3864 toll free.

Staff contacts

Staff contacts for questions related to the 2020-2021 triennial standards review (TSR).

Scope of the TSR, technical comments or questions regarding water quality standards:
William Cole -, 651-757-2788 or 800-657-3864 toll free

TSR process, the public meeting (March 9), how to submit comments, or other questions about the TSR:
Catherine O'Dell -, 651-757-2621 or 800-657-3864 toll free

Questions regarding variances:
Elise Doucette -, 651-757-2316 or 800-657-3864 toll free