The Lower Minnesota River has a dissolved oxygen impairment. During low flows, excess phosphorus generates algal blooms. Eventually, the algae die off and decompose, and the decomposition process creates a shortage of the dissolved oxygen needed to sustain aquatic life.
In response to this impairment, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) developed the Lower Minnesota River Dissolved Oxygen Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The TMDL required the development of the Minnesota River Basin General Phosphorus Permit – Phase I. The purpose of the permit is to reduce phosphorus discharged by point sources to the Minnesota River Basin. The permit was issued on December 1, 2005.
The permit required the 40 larger existing continuously discharging wastewater treatment facilities in the basin to apply for coverage and receive a 5-Month Mass Phosphorus Limit. The permit also requires that all new and expanding continuously discharging phosphorus dischargers (even if they are not a wastewater treatment facility) within the basin to apply for permit coverage. Facilities covered by the Permit are subject to a 5-Month Mass Phosphorus Limit. The phosphorus limit is necessary to ensure that there is no net increase of phosphorus discharged to the basin. Stabilization ponds are subject to a different set of requirements. See the permit for details regarding requirements.
This webpage contains links to the permit and its associated forms and fact sheets.
Permits and additions
Minnesota River Basin General Phosphorus Permit – Phase I (modified Dec. 1, 2009). This is the original permit issued on December 1, 2005. Appendix B of the Permit contains a list of the original 40 Permittees.
Permittees added to Appendix B of the permit since the date of permit issuance. (Last update Sept. 2020)
Permittee's 5-Month Mass Phosphorus Limits converted from pounds to kilograms. (This conversion sheet is necessary because the permit listed phosphorus limits in pounds, but requires reporting phosphorus discharges in kilograms.)
Legal contract-to-trade forms for transfers of Jordan Trading Units
Permittees (i.e., those listed in Appendix B of the permit) have the option of buying or selling phosphorus credits according to the terms of the permit. Permittees may trade facility to facility (one buyer and one seller) or trade through a Trade Association (multiple facilities trading with an aggregate limit). In order to implement a trade, the trading partners must fill-out, sign and submit the appropriate trade form. There are four trade types and thus four types of forms. The first form type is for facility-to-facility trades. The last three forms are used if a Trade Association is involved in the trade.
- Legal contract to trade - Form A (wq-b3-17) - Use this form for all trades made between two individual permittees.
- Trade Association—Internal Trading - Used only for internal trades made within a Trade Association by its members.
- Legal contract to trade - Form C (wq-b3-17c) - External trading between association and individual permittee
- Legal contract to trade form D (wq-b3-17d) - Used only for trades made between two trade associations.
- Exclusion Application Form - Exclusions from Phosphorus Limit, PIP and Annual Compliance Report. For Permittees which are requesting an exclusion from their 5-Month Mass Phosphorus Limit, Pre-season Implementation Plan (PIP) and Annual Compliance Report requirements (Requirements).
- Pre-season Implementation Plan (PIP). Facilities which are listed in Appendix B of the Minnesota River Basin General Phosphorus Permit are required to submit a PIP unless they have obtained an exclusion from their 5-Month Mass Phosphorus Limit.
- Example of filled-out PIP form.
Annual compliance report forms (ACR)
Facilities which are listed in Appendix B of the Minnesota River Basin General Phosphorus Permit are required to submit an ACR unless they have received an exclusion from their 5-Month Mass Phosphorus Limit. ACR Form A is used for Permittees which are not in a Trade Association. ACR Form B is used for Permittees that are a member of a Trade Association.
- Annual Compliance Report – Form A For Permittees not in a Trade Association.
- Annual Compliance Report Form B - for facilities with membership in a Trade Association
For additional information about the Minnesota River Basin General Phosphorus Permit – Phase I, contact: Ashley Wahl, 507-476-4264.