On Point: June 2014

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On Point - News and updates for wastewater discharge permit holders

Guest column: Attitude of change

Aaron Luckstein, MPCA Municipal Wastewater Supervisor

I recently came across the following quote from Charles Swindoll.

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.

This quote struck me as particularly insightful on both a personal and professional level. On a professional level, as most of you can relate, our industry seems to be in an almost constant state of change. We have seen changes to permits, impaired waters listings, water quality studies, standards, effluent limits, databases…and the list goes on. I have struggled with change, I think mainly because it often accompanies a lack of control. What I failed to realize is that while I do not always have control over the process or outcome; I do have control over my attitude.

I have witnessed an overwhelmingly positive attitude toward change from the majority of the wastewater professionals that I have worked with. We may not always agree, we may have lively discussions and debate, but, by and large, being in charge of our attitudes has allowed us to treat each other with mutual respect as we tackle the big challenges.

What does the future hold for us regarding sulfates, nitrogen, pharmaceuticals, chlorides, watershed restoration and protection and things we maybe haven’t even considered, yet? I don’t know. I do know it will inevitably result in change and embracing an attitude of change will inevitably result in success.  

eDMR news

UPDATE: e-Services delivery


As we mentioned in the last issue of On Point, the MPCA is in the midst of updating its data management and e-Services access systems. The updates will be installed in a test system this summer and MPCA staff will begin testing in September.

The eDMR and Sample Values spreadsheets, eDMR online entry and the calculator tools will remain available. There will be changes in the appearance of e-Services screens as well as some fields on eDMRs and spreadsheets. In addition, the process for completing eDMRs will be affected. As these changes are fully installed into the system, we will update guidance documents accordingly.

We intend to provide updated guidance and assistance as soon as possible following testing of these changes. Additional information will be available in the next edition On Point (September 2014) and via emails to eDMR submitters.

REMINDER: Sample Values spreadsheets

In January 2014, MPCA staff began phasing in mandatory Sample Values electronic submittal. The following implementation schedule was developed and is currently in process.

  • Major Facilities: June 2014
  • Minor Facilities: December 2014 (excluding the following)
  • MNG58 Facilities: June 2015
  • MNG49 Facilities: December 2015

For assistance, please review the eDMR Quick Reference Guide on the MPCA website or contact your MPCA compliance representative. To view a map identifying compliance representatives around the state, click here.

Water quality standards

UPDATE: total suspended solids and river nutrient levels


The process continues for rule amendments proposed to replace the existing turbidity standard with a standard for Total Suspended Solids (TSS) and to add new standards to address nutrients in rivers, streams, Mississippi River navigation pools and Lake Pepin. Since the last edition of On Point, approval for the new rules was granted by the administrative law judge who presided over the hearings. Next, the MPCA Citizens’ Board will be asked to adopt the rules at its June 24, 2014, meeting. Following adoption by the Board, the rules will be submitted to U.S. EPA for review and approval. We expect the rules to be in effect by fall 2014.

More information about the TSS/River nutrient amendments is available on the MPCA webpage New Water Quality Standards for River Eutrophication and Total Suspended Solids.

If you would like to receive notices about this and other rule activities related to water quality standards, register at GovDelivery email updates.

Photo: Wolf Creek (green) merging with Cannon River (brown). Wolf Creek flows out of Circle Lake, Rice County, Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Beth Kallestad, Cannon River Watershed Partnership.