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

  • Pre-Public Notice for Minnesota River E. Coli TMDL. Working through a contract with Tetra Tech, the MPCA drafted the Minnesota River E Coli TMDL and Implementation Strategies Report. The primary sources of e-coli appear to be livestock and non-compliant septic systems. The MPCA is seeking feedback on the report through September 6.  
  • Public Comment Period Now Open on Groundwater Protection Rule. The Department of Agriculture has opened an 80-day public comment period on its proposed Groundwater Protection Rule. A series of public hearings were held in July for comment: the schedule can be found here. Comments can be submitted through the OAH site and are due August 15.
  • 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.