Issues

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

  • Public Notice of Availability of the Draft Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies Report and Total Maximum Daily Load Report for the Lower Red River of the North  Watershed and Request for Comment. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is requesting comments on the Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) Report and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Report for the Lower Red River of the North Watershed. These documents cover the Kittson, Marshall, and Roseau Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Two Rivers, Joe River, and Middle-Snake-Tamarac Rivers Watershed Districts. The Lower Red River of the North Watershed is located in the northwestern corner of Minnesota and includes the drainage areas of the Tamarac River and Joe River. The Tamarac River drains into the Red River of the North 35 miles south of the United States/Canada border. The Joe River flows north into Canada before draining into the Red River of the North. The Lower Red River of the North Watershed in Minnesota covers 886 square miles in portions of Kittson, Marshall, and Roseau Counties. The watershed is largely agricultural with 68% of the land cover being cultivated crops. Two TMDLs that address excessive sediment are included in the Lower Red River Watershed TMDL Report; the vast majority of the sediment is attributed to nonpoint sources. The Lower Red River WRAPS Report includes strategies to restore impaired waters in the Lower Red River Watershed that have excessive levels of bacteria, sediment, a pesticide called chlorpyrifos, and chloride, and restore those affected by stressors that cause poor fish and aquatic insect communities. More details and copies of the TMDL and WRAPS can be found herePublic comment period ends September 12.
  • PFA releases draft 2019 Project Priority Lists for wastewater & drinking water In August, the Public Facilities Authority (PFA) released drafts of the Intended Use Plans (IUPs) which identify projects and activities that the PFA plans to fund from the Clean Water Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water Revolving Fund in 2019. These IUPs rely on the Project Priority List prepared by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) for wastewater and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for drinking water. The 2019 IUP for wastewater and stormwater includes 41 carryover projects from 2018 and 40 new projects for 2019. The public notice and details on the comment period can be found here. The 2019 IUP for drinking water includes 42 carryover projects from 2018 and 49 new projects for 2019. The public notice and details on the comment period can be found here. Comments on both IUPs are being accepted until Sept. 21.
  • New General Permit For Pond WWTFs going on Notice Soon The MPCA will place the Wastewater Pond General Permit on public notice sometime in September. This permit has been delayed because of the River Eutrophication Standard. The new general permit will allow notices of coverage to be issued in batches. Pond WWTFs are covered by the expired permit until the MPCA issues a notice of coverage under the new permit. MESERB staff will monitor this development and determine whether comments should be submitted.
  • MPCA To Begin New Water Rulemaking – Class 2 and Class 7 Use Change Rule The MPCA announced that it is ready to begin working on the Class 2 (aquatic life) and Class 7 (limited resource value waters) rulemaking soon. It anticipates publishing a request for comment sometime in September. MESERB staff will monitor this development and determine whether comments should be submitted.