2014 draft Impaired Waters List now available

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has posted the 2014 draft Impaired Waters List on the Impaired Waters List webpage.


Updated every two years, Impaired Waters List consists three major components: the 303(d) (TMDL) List, the Inventory of Impaired Waters, and an “Appendix A” (waterbodies part of the Statewide Mercury TMDL). The TMDL List contains impairments that require Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) “cleanup” studies. The Inventory waters includes impairments in need of TMDLs, those with completed TMDLs that have not yet been restored, ”non-pollutant” impairments, and impairments due to natural sources. Appendix A is a list of mercury impairments, mainly for fish tissue concentration exceedences but also for water column mercury concentration exceedences.


The draft 2014 List is a product of the MPCA’s refined approach to assessment that focuses on comprehensive assessment of water quality within major watersheds. For the 2014 List, the assessed watersheds are: Cannon, Lake of the Woods, Lake Superior – South, Leech Lake, Little Sioux, Long Prairie, Lower Big Sioux, Nemadji, Red Lake, Red River – Grand Marais Creek, Redeye, Rock, Pine, Sandhill, South Fork Crow, Thief, Upper Big Sioux, and Zumbro. Most of the changes to the Impaired Waters List since the last version in 2012 are a result of assessments in these watersheds.


As part of the development of the draft 2014 303(d) Impaired Water List, the MPCA is committed to assessing waters for the 10 mg/L sulfate standard in Minnesota Rules 7050.0224, subpart 2, that protects “water used for production of wild rice during periods when the rice may be susceptible to damage by high sulfate levels.” That work is ongoing. The MPCA plans to make the results of the wild rice sulfate standard assessments available in an addendum to this version of the draft 2014 303(d) Impaired Water List.


Prior to completing the wild rice sulfate assessments the MPCA intends to public notice the criteria used to determine which waters are “water used for production of wild rice.” The MPCA will solicit public comment on the criteria from interested parties through a formal public notice and comment process in the near future. The MPCA will use the criteria that emerge from that public process to determine which waters are water used for production of wild rice and subject to assessment and potential inclusion on the draft 303(d) 2014 Impaired Waters List due to impairment of the wild rice sulfate standard.


The MPCA will hold a series of public meetings throughout the state in December to discuss the content of the Impaired Waters List including the delistings, recategorizations, and impairments proposed in the List. Each meeting will be focused to discuss the assessments that have gone on in that region in the last two years which have contributed to the 2014 List. The meetings will be held at the following locations but you can also participate live online. Email miranda.nichols@state.mn.us to request the online meeting information for any one of the four meetings below.


Thursday, Dec. 5, 10-11 a.m., MPCA Office, 525 Lake Ave., Duluth
Thursday, Dec. 10, 9-10 a.m., MPCA Office, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 1-2 p.m., MPCA Office, 714 Lake Ave., Detroit Lakes
Wednesday, Dec.18, 11 a.m. - 12 p.m., MPCA Office,18 Wood Lake Dr. SE, Rochester (in conjunction with BALMM meeting)

The draft List is developed by the MPCA and then sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval following an extensive public comment process. The List will be formally on public notice from Jan. 2-31, 2014. For additional information go to the Impaired Waters List webpage or contact Miranda Nichols (651-757-2614, miranda.nichols@state.mn.us).


The mission of the MPCA is to protect and improve the environment and enhance human health.


St. Paul • Brainerd • Detroit Lakes • Duluth • Mankato • Marshall • Rochester • Willmar www.pca.state.mn.us • Toll-free and TDD 800-657-3864