Environmental Protection

Minnesota Invites Comments on New Water Rules

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is seeking comments on the proposed changes to the state's water quality standards. All parties who have an interest or information about Minnesota's lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, and ground water are encouraged to comment.

This is the first public comment period for the 2011 triennial water quality rules revision process. Comments must be submitted to the MPCA by 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 26.

The federal Clean Water Act requires states to review their water quality standards every three years and to amend and update them if necessary. Minnesota's water quality standards are the basis for assessing the condition of surface and ground waters, setting effluent limits for dischargers in waters, and designating and protecting outstanding resource value waters, among other uses.

Minnesota's water quality standards are found in Minn. Rules chapters 7050 and 7052. Chapter 7050 applies statewide. Chapter 7052 provides standards specific to surface waters of the Lake Superior Basin.

Mark Tomasek, who oversees the MPCA's water-quality standards unit, said it is important for stakeholders to get involved early in the process. "The MPCA has a list of proposals but has not yet decided on the exact scope of the proposed amendments. We are requesting information and opinion from the public on any subject matter contained in Minnesota Rules 7050 and 7052 that should be considered for revision," Tomasek said.

Some of the changes being proposed include adding a new nutrient standard for rivers and streams and revising the current turbidity standard. Other proposed changes are available on MPCA Web site at www.pca.state.mn.us. Questions regarding the proposed scope of the rulemaking, technical comments, or current water quality standards should be directed to Angela Preimesberger, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN 55155-4194. People with questions can call 651-296-8723, toll-free at 1-800-657-3864 or e-mail minnrule7050@pca.state.mn.us.

Requests for the draft rules when they have been prepared and more information on the planned rule amendments should be directed to Carol Nankivel at the address above. Nankivel can be reached at 651-297-8371 or carol.nankivel@pca.state.mn.us.

More information about the Proposed Water Quality Standards Rule Revisions: 2008-2011 Triennial Water Quality Rule Revision can be found on the MPCA Web site at www.pca.state.mn.us/water/standards/rulechange.html.

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