Skip to main content

PCA adds 500 lakes, river segments to 'impaired waters' list

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency added 500 lakes and segments of rivers to its list of “impaired waters," while removing thirty other waterways from the list, which is a snapshot on how the state is progressing toward upholding the federal Clean Water Act.

The Duluth News Tribune reports those additional bodies of water landed on the list because they have been identified as having excessive sediment, mercury, nitrogen or bacteria. It’s not that Minnesota’s waters are more polluted – the list has grown because every year the state reviews additional lakes and rivers and finds more pollution problems. KARE reports the PCA has a new source of funding for the stepped up evaluation efforts.

"Thanks in part to the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment, MPCA has greatly accelerated its schedule for assessing surface waters," said Assistant Commissioner Rebecca Flood. "Because of that, we are finding many more water bodies that don't meet water quality standards and are impaired."

In recent years, the PCA has surveyed 4,123 waterways with 2,497 found to be impaired. That includes 20,740 miles of river, with 14,265 miles considered impaired and 3,998 “lake basins,”’ with 1,540 showing impairment.

“We’re finding more impairments because we’re looking at places we’ve never looked before, and we’re looking for more things than we’ve ever looked for before,’’ the PCA’s Miranda Nichols told the News Tribune.

The PCA wants to finish surveying all of the state's 81 watersheds by 2018.

Next Up


Animal Humane Society plans trailblazing new campus

Take a look inside the plans for a first-of-its-kind adoption center and animal care campus.


Minnesota reports 'concerning level' of syphilis cases

The Minnesota Department of Health says most of the cases are being discovered in the northern part of the state.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Airport police intercept 5,600 fentanyl pills headed to St. Cloud

Three were arrested following a police raid in St. Cloud.


Minnesota switches to weekly COVID updates

The weekly updates will be provided on Thursdays.

Screen Shot 2022-06-29 at 12.22.08 PM

Man shot inside Oakdale movie theater expected to survive

The 23-year-old victim underwent surgery and is recovering at the hospital.


Minnesota confirms second case of monkeypox virus

More cases are expected in the coming days and weeks, the health department says.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, June 29

One of the newly reported deaths was a person aged 15-19 from Yellow Medicine County.

Screen Shot 2022-06-29 at 10.19.37 AM

Drone drops bag of candy near kids fishing

A black SUV quickly left the area afterwards.

FLickr - AL Franken 2016 - Lorie Shaull

Al Franken to bring comedy tour to Minneapolis

Acme Comedy is hosting the former senator in late August.


Alabama replaces Toby Keith as headliner at MN music festival

The Lakefront Music Festival is set to take place in Prior Lake on July 8-9.