Water pollutants and stressors

At the state level, three agencies share the monitoring and control of pollutants:

As more research is done, the agencies know more about common pollutants such as phosphorus and nitrogen. Research also detects new issues such as chloride impacting fresh-water fish and bugs. In addition to pollutants, certain conditions can also stress aquatic life, such as too little or too much flow in streams.

In addition to the pollutants listed below, Minnesota water quality rules contain standards (acceptable levels) for more than 50 other substances, characteristics, and pollutants. Many of these are not widespread problems, in part because the rules have led to adequate controls.

In this section: