Water Quality Standards

MESERB works to ensure that water quality standards that impact municipal wastewater facilities are based on open and transparent science, independently reviewed and result in meaningful benefits to water quality. Water quality standards issues that MESERB is currently focused on include:

  • Wild Rice Sulfate
  • Chloride (and other salty parameters)
  • Total Nitrogen Standard
  • Mercury
  • River and Lake Euthrophication Standards
  • Antidegradation

For information on current, future, and completed rulemaking projects, please visit the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Public Rulemaking Docket.

Innovative Approaches to NPDES Permitting

MESERB is always looking for innovate implementation methods to address water quality regulations to achieve maximum environmental benefit while responsibly utilizing state and local resources. Such activities include:

  • Water Quality Trading – Working to research and develop a more flexible trading framework including point to non-point trading.
  • Integrative Planning – Working to develop a framework that allows municipalities to meet regulatory obligations while optimizing infrastructure investments through prioritization and sequencing of work.
  • Plant Optimization – Working with members to identify, develop and share plant optimization techniques and technologies to maximize efficiency in existing infrastructure.

Public Notices and Requests for Comments

  • Regulatory Alert – International Red River Board Nutrient Targets –  International Red River Board is proposing total phosphorus and targets to the International Joint Commission, which oversee the management of the boundary waters between the United States and Canada. These proposals are unprecedented—especially in terms of nitrogen— as they directly conflict with Minnesota’s adopted and EPA-approved River Eutrophication Standards. The proposed targets could have a major impact on a cities within the Red River Basin, and the proposed total nitrogen target also sets a precedent that could impact cities statewide. The IJC has granted our request for a hearing and has opened a public comment period. The hearing will be held Jan. 16, 2020 from 7-9 p.m. at The Delta by Marriott in Fargo, North Dakota as a part of the Red River Basin Land & Water International Summit Conference. This will be followed by a public comment period ending Feb. 28, 2020.
  • Air Plan Approval – Revision to the Minnesota State Implementation Plan The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes to approve a revision to the Minnesota State Implementation Plan (SIP) which updates Minnesota’s air program rules. The revision to Minnesota’s air quality rules will reflect changes that have occurred to the state air program rules since Aug. 10, 2011, and updates on actions deferred from previous SIP submittals. EPA is proposing to approve the majority of MPCA’s submittal, which will result in consistent requirements of rules at both the state and Federal level. Comments must be received on or before March 6, 2020.
  • Update to Regulations Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act  The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is accepting comments on proposed updates to its regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). CEQ has not comprehensively updated its regulations since their promulgation in 1978. This proposed rule would modernize and clarify the regulations to facilitate more efficient, effective, and timely NEPA reviews by federal agencies in connection with proposals for agency action. The proposed amendments would advance the original goals of the CEQ regulations to reduce paperwork and delays, and promote better decisions consistent with the national environmental policy set forth in section 101 of NEPA. If finalized, the proposed rule would comprehensively update and substantially revise the 1978 regulations. CEQ invites comments on the proposed revisions. Comments must be received by March 10, 2020.