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EPA Announces Public Comment Period for Additions to Minnesota’s Impaired Waters List

04/29/2021
Contact Information: 
Joshua Singer (singer.joshua@epa.gov)
312-353-5069

(CHICAGO--April 29, 2021) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a public comment period for 30 days regarding its inclusion of 30 additional waters impaired for sulfate on Minnesota’s Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 303(d) Impaired Waters List. The 30-day public comment period starts April 29, 2021 and ends May 31, 2021. 

EPA continues its review of extensive input from Tribes regarding waters “used for the production of wild rice,” along with any additional information received during this public notice and comment period, and may add more waters to the list in the future. If so, EPA would provide notice on those listings and open another 30-day public comment period.  After considering public comments and making appropriate revisions, EPA will transmit the final list to Minnesota.

On March 26, EPA partially approved Minnesota’s Section 303(d) list and disapproved Minnesota’s decision not to identify Water Quality Limited Segments (WQLSs) where sulfate concentrations exceed the criterion to protect “waters used for the production of wild rice.” Prior to adding these waters, EPA consulted with federally recognized Tribes regarding their concerns on the effect of sulfates on wild rice in Minnesota.

Section 303(d)(2) of the CWA requires each state to identify waters for which existing required pollution controls are insufficient to meet state water quality standards.  The Impaired Waters List is a state’s list of impaired and threatened waters (e.g., stream/river segments, lakes) requiring a total maximum daily load (TMDL). A TMDL is the calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that can enter a water body. States are required to submit their lists for EPA approval. If EPA disapproves any portion of the state’s Section 303(d) list, EPA must identify the impaired waters that should be listed.   EPA then must "promptly issue a public notice seeking comment" on those additional WQLSs.  After considering public comments and making appropriate revisions, EPA will transmit the final list to the state

EPA requests that any written comments be sent by email to Paul Proto (proto.paul@epa.gov) on or before May 31, 2021. Additional information regarding EPA’s inclusion of additional waters is available in the public notice: https://www.epa.gov/tmdl/public-notice-epas-additions-minnesotas-2020-impaired-waters-list. A list of the 30 waters can be found in Appendix 2.

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