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

  • MPCA Seeking Water Quality Data. The MPCA is seeking water quality data on a number of watersheds to determine whether the water bodies meet state water quality standards. These watersheds include Blue Earth River, Cottonwood River, Lower Rainy River, North Fork Crow River, Pomme de Terre River, Rainy River – Rainy Lake, Rapid River, Redwood River, Snake River (St. Croix basin). Data submissions due November 1. You can learn more here.
  • Requests for Comment on Amendments to Water Quality Standards – Use Classification 2 and 7. The MPCA is requesting comment on amendments to Minnesota Rules Chapter 7050, which establish designated uses for rivers, streams and lakes. The public comment period is open through 4:30 p.m. Nov. 8.
  • Public Comment Period on Wastewater Pond General Permit. Facilities covered under this general permit are wastewater treatment facilities within the boundary of the state of Minnesota that have existing stabilization and/or aerated pond systems with a controlled discharge; predominantly treat domestic sewage; discharge during predefined, allowed discharge windows; meet predetermined effluent limitations; and is Agency-classified as a Class D facility. This permit provides coverage for facilities with a design flow of less than one million gallons per day and meet all other specified permit conditions for coverage. Facilities that do not meet all specific requirements for this permit will be required to obtain coverage under an individual NPDES/SDS permit. The draft permit may be found here and the fact sheet is here. The comment period expires Nov. 16, 2018.
  • WWTPs Sought For Pilot Project. The MPCA is undertaking a pilot project to explore optimization techniques that could help municipalities comply with new limits. They plan to focus their efforts on five wastewater treatment plants and 30 stabilization ponds. The end goal is to provide a field guide of optimization techniques so that operators can meet more restrictive phosphorus limits without new construction. Municipalities that anticipate new phosphorus limits who are interested in the pilot can fill out a form here.