Phosphorus management plans

Phosphorus management plans (PMPs) help wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) operators and managers understand the inputs of phosphorus to, and treatment capabilities of their facilities, and evaluate pollution prevention and WWTF optimization options that can reduce the amount of phosphorus discharged to Minnesota waters.

Phosphorus is a common constituent in many wastewater discharges and a pollutant that has the potential to negatively impact the quality of Minnesota’s lakes, wetlands, rivers, and streams.

Your facility’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit may require the preparation of a PMP. The resources listed on this page can help you work through the process of preparing a PMP for submission to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). 

Your facility’s NPDES permit may include an effluent phosphorus limit. The resources listed on this page can help you diminish the amount of phosphorus entering the wastewater collection system and optimize the phosphorus removal capabilities of your WWTF with potential cost savings for businesses and the operation of the WWTF.

PMP resource packet

The PMP Resource Packet, a collaborative effort by the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP), University of Minnesota and the MPCA has been revised and updated:

  • PMP guide
  • phosphorus reduction tip sheet
  • checklist to help locate sources of phosphorus, plus resources
  • worksheets to help you analyze phosphorus loads and WWTF performance
  • fact sheets about phosphorus sampling, water conservation, reducing phosphorus releases from various industrial sectors, optimizing your wastewater treatment plant for phosphorus removal, and phosphorus treatment using chemicals and/or enhanced biological removal

WWTF operators working with their business users to reduce phosphorus effluent will benefit from the sector-based fact sheets and a worksheet to help identify all phosphorus sources. 

PMP guide

The PMP guide includes tables and fields that can be filled in by the user. The PMP form is an abbreviated version of the guide that contains the tables and fields but omits the guidance text.

This Web page also contains Microsoft Excel (file extension *.xls) versions of Table 1A, Table 1B and Table 3. These files allow the user to enter data electronically and include some automatic tabulation and graphing capabilities. You will need to save these files to your computer’s hard drive to take advantage of these features. 

About the Files:

  • Sample Table 1A Mechanical and Sample Table 1B Pond provides examples of the built-in charting and graphing features. 
  • Table 1A is designed for continuously discharging WWTFs. 
  • Table 1B is designed for controlled discharge WWTFs. 
  • Only certain fields in the DATA worksheets will allow the user to enter data (year, influent flow and concentration fields for Table 1A Mechanical, and year, influent and effluent flow and concentration data for Table 1B Pond). 
  • Table 3 allows the user to enter flows and phosphorus concentrations from businesses, municipal sources, satellite communities and domestic sources. Loads are calculated automatically. If you add rows to Table 3 for additional sources, you will need to copy the column F formula into the column F cells in the new rows. Table 3 is not password protected.
  • To unlock the protected cells to modify any of the functions in Table 1A or Table 1B, you will need to enter a password for each worksheet. In all cases the password is: phosphorus

Guidance documents

The PMP guide and form are available in both Microsoft Word (*.doc) and Adobe Acrobat (*.pdf) versions. You can print the documents directly from this webpage or save them to your hard drive. The Word files allow the user to fill out the forms electronically, but you need to save the files to your hard drive to take advantage of these features. The pdf files will not allow you to complete the forms electronically.

  • Microsoft Office document icon Phosphorus Management Plan Guide—Use this template to help design your PMP. Forms and tables may be completed electronically or printed out and completed manually.
  • Microsoft Office document icon Appendix A—Phosphorus Removal by Minnesota Municipal Wastewater Treatment Facilities: An analysis of the phosphorus removal performance of 284 municipal wastewater treatment facilities for the 2005 calendar year. Intended to assist WWTF operators in assessing the current performance and potential phosphorus removal capabilities of their systems.
  • Microsoft Office document icon Appendix B—Phosphorus Reduction Tips at a Glance: Quick tips for selecting phosphorus reduction strategies for business users and commercial/industrial/institutional operations; your WWTF; residential or domestic sources and the drinking water treatment plant.
  • Microsoft Office document icon Appendix C—Setting Phosphorus Goals for Multiple Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Users: A methodology for meeting your influent phosphorus reduction goals by allocating phosphorus loads to the commercial, industrial and institutional users of the WWTF. 

Forms and tables

  • Microsoft Office document icon Phosphorus Management Plan Form—A shortened form version of the PMP Guide. Forms and tables may be completed electronically or printed out and completed manually. 
  • Office spreadsheet icon Table 1A—Mechanical: An electronic version of Table 1A for continuously discharging WWTFs. These spreadsheets automatically compute various loading calculations and include annual and monthly summaries and charts.
  • Office spreadsheet icon Table 1B—Pond: An electronic version of Table 1B for controlled discharge WWTFs. These spreadsheets automatically compute various loading calculations and include annual and monthly summaries and charts.
  • Office spreadsheet icon Table 3—Summary of phosphorus sources: An electronic version of Table 3. Flows and phosphorus loads are computed automatically.  

Sample tables

  • Office spreadsheet icon Sample Table 1A—Mechanical: A sample version of Table 1A preloaded with data to illustrate its charting and graphing features.
  • Office spreadsheet icon Sample Table 1B—Pond: A sample version of Table 1B preloaded with data to illustrate its charting and graphing features.

Fact sheets

For more information and assistance

For questions about PMP permit requirements, please contact the MPCA’s Customer Assistance Center: 651-297-2274 or 800-646-6247. Questions can also be submitted electronically through our Ask MPCA web page.

HTML icon Pollution Prevention and Energy Efficiency in POTWs

For technical assistance using the PMP development resources, including pollution prevention options and assistance with identifying reduction strategies and preparing a PMP, contact the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP), 612-624-1300 or 800-247-0015.