The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is requesting comments on the draft Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) report for the Lake St. Croix excess nutrients impairment. The draft TMDL report for the Lake St. Croix is available for review at: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/tmdl/tmdl-draft.html.
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Notice of Availability of the Draft Lake St. Croix Excess Nutrients TMDL Report and Request for Comment.
Public Comment Period Begins: December 12, 2011
Public Comment Period Ends: January 11, 2012
Following the comment period, the MPCA will revise the draft TMDL report and submit it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approval.
A TMDL is a scientific study, conducted on waters designated as impaired, required by the federal Clean Water Act. A TMDL study calculates the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and continue to meet water quality standards for designated beneficial uses. It is a process that identifies all the sources of the pollutant causing the impairment and allocates allowable loads among them. This multi-year effort results in a pollution reduction plan and engages stakeholders and the general public. An approved TMDL is followed by implementation activities for achieving the necessary reductions.
Lake St. Croix is a naturally impounded riverine lake in the lower 25 miles of the St. Croix River. Its drainage basin is approximately 7,760 square miles with 44 percent of that area located within Minnesota and 56 percent within Wisconsin. The lake is a highly valued resource that provides exceptional recreational opportunities and supports a highly diverse ecology of aquatic and terrestrial species. However, over the years eutrophication, or nutrient enrichment, has occurred due to excess phosphorus loading. This loading drives nuisance algae blooms which diminish the enjoyment and use of the lake.
This TMDL was a collaborative effort among the MPCA, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the St. Croix Basin Water Resources Planning Team. The primary components of the TMDL were largely based on the results of past lake and nutrient loading studies. The primary conclusion of the TMDL is that a total phosphorus load reduction of 122 metric tons/year will be needed in order for the lake to meet water quality standards. This equates to an overall needed phosphorus load reduction of 27 percent. These reductions will need to come from various sources including runoff from agricultural and urban lands and discharges from wastewater treatment facilities. A separate implementation plan is being developed to identify specific measures needed to achieve the desired reductions.
The MPCA and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are each conducting their own respective public comment processes for this TMDL. The process for the MPCA is described below.
Preliminary Determination on the Draft TMDL Report: The MPCA Commissioner has made a preliminary determination to submit this TMDL report to the EPA for final approval. A draft TMDL report and fact sheet are available for review at the MPCA office at the address listed below, and at the MPCA website: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/tmdl/tmdl-draft.html
Written Comments: You may submit written comments on the conditions of the draft TMDL report or on the Commissioner’s preliminary determination. Written comments must include the following:
Written comments on the draft TMDL report must be sent to the MPCA contact person listed below and received by 4:30 p.m. on the date the public comment period ends, identified on page 1 of this notice. Suggested changes will be considered before the final TMDL report is sent to the EPA for approval.
Agency Contact Person: Written comments and requests for more information should be directed to:
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155-4194
Phone: 651-757-2837 (direct)
Minnesota Toll Free: 1-800-657-3864
TTY users may call the MPCA teletypewriter at 651-282-5332 or 1-800-657-3864.
Petition for Public Informational Meeting: You also may request that the MPCA Commissioner hold a public informational meeting. A public informational meeting is an informal meeting that the MPCA may hold to solicit public comment and statements on matters before the MPCA, and to help clarify and resolve issues.
A petition requesting a public informational meeting must include the following information:
Petition for Contested Case Hearing: You also may submit a petition for a contested case hearing. A contested case hearing is a formal evidentiary hearing before an administrative law judge. In accordance with Minn. R. 7000.1900, the MPCA will grant a petition to hold a contested case hearing if it finds that: (1) there is a material issue of fact in dispute concerning the draft TMDL report; (2) the MPCA has the jurisdiction to make a determination on the disputed material issue of fact; and (3) there is a reasonable basis underlying the disputed material issue of fact or facts such that the holding of the contested case hearing would allow the introduction of information that would aid the MPCA in resolving the disputed facts in making a final decision on the draft TMDL report. A material issue of fact means a fact question, as distinguished from a policy question, whose resolution could have a direct bearing on a final MPCA decision.
A petition for a contested case hearing must include the following information:
In addition and to the extent known, a petition for a contested case hearing should also include the following information:
MPCA Decision: You may submit a petition to the Commissioner requesting that the MPCA Citizens’ Board (Board) consider the TMDL report approval. To be considered timely, the petition must be received by the MPCA by 4:30 p.m. on the date the public comment period ends, identified on page 1 of this notice. Under the provisions of Minn. Stat. § 116.02, subd 6(4), the decision whether to submit the TMDL report and, if so, under what terms will be presented to the Board for decision if: (1) the Commissioner grants the petition requesting the matter be presented to the Board; (2) one or more Board members request to hear the matter before the time the Commissioner makes a final decision on the TMDL report; or (3) a timely request for a contested case hearing is pending.
You may participate in the activities of the Board as provided in Minn. R. 7000.0650.
The written comments, requests, and petitions submitted on or before the last day of the public comment period will be considered in the final decision on this TMDL report.
If the MPCA does not receive written comments, requests, or petitions during the public comment period, MPCA staff as authorized by the Board, will make the final decision on the draft TMDL report.