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

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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.


MPCA adds more Minnesota lakes and rivers to impaired list

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is placing 500 additional lakes and sections of rivers on its list of impaired waters. Minnesota now has more than 3,600 bodies of water on the list. MPR reports about 40 percent of the state's waters are considered to have an excess of nitrogen, phosphorus, mercury, bacteria or other pollutants. Hundreds of clean-up plans have been developed over the past two decades, but less than 20 bodies of water have come of the list.

Minnesota's list of polluted waters grows by more than 500

On the bright side, there are 13 lakes that were cleaned up enough to come off the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's semi-annual list of polluted waterways. On the other hand, more than 500 rivers and lakes were added to that list. There are now more than 3,600 bodies of water that are too polluted for fishing or swimming.

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