May 03, 2021

EPA Adds 30 Minnesota Wild Rice Waters Exceeding Sulfate Standards to Impaired Waters List

30 additional waters impaired for sulfate have been included on Minnesota’s Clean Water Act (CWA) Impaired Waters List. 


On Apr. 29, 2021 the U.S. EPA announced a public comment period for 30 days regarding the inclusion of 30 additional waters impaired for sulfate on Minnesota’s Clean Water Act (CWA) Impaired Waters List. 

The Impaired Waters List is a state’s list of impaired and threatened waters requiring a total maximum daily load.

30 rivers and lakes throughout Minnesota that grow wild rice have sulfate levels beyond the state's 10 milligram per liter limit for wild rice waters, reported The Duluth News Tribune.

The 30-day public comment period starts Apr. 29, 2021 and ends May 31, 2021. 

EPA may add more waters to the list in the future, according to the EPA news release. In this case EPA would provide notice on those listings and open another 30-day public comment period.  

Once public comments are received, the appropriate revisions will be made and EPA will transmit the final list to Minnesota.

EPA partially approved Minnesota’s Impaired Waters List and disapproved Minnesota’s decision not to identify Water Quality Limited Segments (WQLSs) where sulfate concentrations exceed the criterion, according to EPA. 

In order to construct the list, EPA consulted with federally recognized tribes regarding their concerns on the impact 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, according to EPA. 

EPA requests that any written comments be sent by email to Paul Proto, [email protected], on or before May 31, 2021.

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