BAXTER - The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is seeking feedback about rules on water quality standards and provisions that help protect surface and ground water from pollution.
The proposed changes are part of a requirement in the federal Clean Water Act for states to update their standards every three years.
Major changes being proposed in the rules include a provision that addresses excess nutrients in the lakes that can cause eutrophication, a process that leads to algae bloom and loss of water clarity. This change includes standards for phosphorus levels and measurements of algae abundance and water clarity.
The MPCA also is proposing requiring new or expanding wastewater treatment plants to remove phosphorus from treated water if they discharge more than 1,800 pounds of the pollutant per year, which will help protect rivers, reservoirs and some lakes from eutrophication.
Other provisions include a fish tissue standard for mercury; water quality standards for commonly used herbicides, acetochlor and metolachlor; replacement of the fecal coliform bacteria standards with E. coli standards to protect waters for swimming; and water use classification changes.
The MPCA also proposes changes to make the rules easier to read and understand. The MPCA also proposes a new rule that will address effluent limits, wastewater treatment requirements and related provisions.
David Holmbeck of the DNR in Grand Rapids said he was happy to see that the MPCA is making special provisions for areas that have high levels of phosphorus and that the agency is looking at all avenues of where the compound comes from.
Baxter City Administrator Dennis Coryell asked how the proposed changes would affect perfluorinated chemicals, also known as PFC compounds found in wastewater. The MPCA recently found an elevated level of a PFC compound in the wastewater at Brainerd's wastewater treatment facility, which delayed the city's expansion project.
David Maschwitz of the MPCA said the changes would not affect the compound because the changes are focused on lakes and reservoirs and not related to the compound.
After the meeting, Steve Heiskary of the MPCA in St. Paul, said the proposed rule changes shouldn't affect lakes in the Brainerd area because the lakes are in good condition. He said the provisions will help protect the good lakes and help clean up the impaired ones.
The MPCA said the last day to submit input on the proposed changes is Oct. 3. People can e-mail their comments to email@example.com or mail the Administrative Law Judge Steve Mihalchick at P.O. Box 64620, St. Paul, MN 55164-0620 after Sept. 24 (because of an address change).
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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