Minnesota invites input on clean water standards

Review takes place every three years to assess and update pollution prevention rules as needed.




3 minute read

Via the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency:

Lake St. Croix (MPCA)

The 2020-2021 triennial standards review of Minnesota’s water quality standards is underway.

The review is an opportunity for the public to provide input on the need for changes to Minnesota’s water quality standards – either new standards or revisions to existing standards. The federal Clean Water Act requires that states review their standards every three years and amend and update them if necessary. (Note: Rulemaking to implement revisions to state water quality standards is conducted separately from the triennial review.)  

All parts of Minnesota Rules chapters 7050 and 7052 are open for the public’s review and comment.

Chapter 7050 includes provisions to protect Minnesota’s waters from pollution, including:

  • A classification system of designated beneficial uses for both surface water and groundwater (e.g., drinking water, aquatic life and recreation, etc.), and a listing of specifically classified water bodies.
  • Numeric and narrative water quality standards that protect these beneficial uses.
  • Antidegradation provisions.
  • Provisions for the protection of wetlands.
  • Methods for the determination of site-specific criteria for toxic pollutants.
  • Other provisions related to the protection of surface water and groundwater from point and nonpoint source pollution.

Chapter 7052 provides standards specific to surface waters in the Lake Superior Basin.  Chapter 7052 establishes aquatic life, human health, and wildlife water quality standards and criteria based on the EPA’s Great Lakes Initiative, anti-degradation standards and procedures for deriving effluent limitations from these standards and criteria.

Minn. rules also include procedures and requirements for issuing variances to state water quality standards. During the triennial review, the public may comment upon active variances that have been granted by the MPCA.

In addition, the MPCA requests information and opinion from the public on modified Class 2 and Class 7 water bodies (a.k.a., limited resource value waters) that may be able to attain higher use classes.

Details about the subjects open for comment are available below:

Provide comment

The MPCA wants your input about what updates are needed for the state’s water quality standards, including information of what standards revisions would support the agency’s strategic plan goals around environmental justice and climate change resilience. Comments are requested from all parties with an interest in or information about Minnesota’s lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands and groundwater.

Submit written comments or information by 4:30 pm on Friday, April 8, 2021. All written comments submitted by this time will become part of the TSR record.

Please send comments by mail or e-mail. Electronic submissions are preferred.

By email: minnrule7050.pca@state.mn.us

By mail: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; Attn: Catherine O’Dell; 520 Lafayette Road North; St. Paul, MN 55155-4194

Public meeting: March 9

The MPCA will hold a virtual public meeting to provide information on the TSR and accept comments:

March 9, 2021 (3:30 to 6 p.m. or until all parties present are heard, whichever occurs first.)

The online-only meeting will be held via Webex and can be accessed by computer or tablet, or by phone. Log-in and call-in information will be provided on this website in advance of the TSR meeting. If you need an accommodation to make the public meeting hearing accessible, please contact Catherine O’Dell at the email address or telephone number listed below.

Staff contacts

Staff contacts for questions related to the 2020-2021 triennial standards review.

Scope, technical comments or questions regarding water quality standards:
William Cole – william.cole@state.mn.us, 651-757-2788 or 800-657-3864 toll free

Process, public meeting (March 9), how to submit comments, or other questions about the TSR:
Catherine O’Dell – catherine.odell@state.mn.us, 651-757-2621 or 800-657-3864 toll free

Questions regarding variances:
Elise Doucette – elise.doucette@state.mn.us, 651-757-2316 or 800-657-3864 toll free.


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Minnesota invites input on clean water standards