Minnesota environmental officials say cleanup efforts to cut phosphorous levels in the Minnesota River are making a difference, the Star Tribune reports. After testing this summer, the Pollution Control Agency found oxygen levels in one of the state's dirtiest waterways are better than expected. The agency credits a 2004 phosphorous reduction plan for sewage treatment plants
Cliffs Natural Resources has agreed to pay a $242,973 civil penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and make improvements to the coal ash landfill at Northshore Mining plant in Silver Bay, the Duluth News Tribune reports. The company will also contribute $75,000 toward an expansion of the household hazardous waste reuse center in Duluth.
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.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has been waiting since 1988 for the river to drop to a late summer weekly average flow of under 1,500 cubic feet per second. On Friday, the river flow at Jordan was about 1,000 cubic feet per second. The levels offer the agency the rare ability to test water quality conditions more than two decades apart.
Concerned about elevated levels of E. coli bacteria following last month's floods, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is continuing to conduct water sampling in Carlton County after raw sewage swept into the Moosehead Lake and the river access on the Moose Horn River near Sturgeon Lake.