On Point for December 2016: Biosolids report due

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On Point - News and updates for wastewater discharge permit holders

December 2016

Many municipal WWTFs need to submit biosolids report to both MPCA, EPA

Many municipal wastewater treatment facilities (WWTFs) need to submit an annual biosolids report to both the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA):

  • This requirement applies to municipal WWTFs with a design flow of 1 million or more gallons-per-day, or that serve 10,000 people or more. (Note that it does NOT apply to industrial byproduct land application facilities.)
  • Facilities that fall into the above category will need to submit the report to the MPCA by Dec. 31, 2016 and to the EPA by Feb. 19, 2017. The report to the EPA will be electronic. Both of these reports will be based on the cropping year.
  • For information on the EPA reporting requirements, including tutorials, go to www.epa.gov/compliance/npdes-ereporting.
  • EPA is offering training beginning Jan. 10, 2017, that will include presentations and live demonstrations. To register for a training session, visit https://epanet.zendesk.com, and select Training Schedule under Biosolids Permit; or go directly to epanet.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/235008088-Biosolids-Training-Schedule

MPCA offers refresher courses for Type IV operators

The MPCA has combined the Type IV Biosolids refresher and the Type IV Industrial By-Product (IBP) refresher classes into the same class offering. You can sign up for any Type IV refresher and receive your required contact hours. Upcoming Type IV refreshers are scheduled for May 16-17 and Aug. 22-23, 2017. A Type IV Biosolids Refresher is offered during the Annual Wastewater Operations Conference March 29-31, 2017, but will not include any specific IBP information. See the Wastewater section at www.pca.state.mn.us/about-mpca/training-events for more information or to register.

Gov. Dayton to host 'town hall' water summit Jan. 27 at UMM

water summit dayton

Join Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith for a Town Hall Water Summit Friday, Jan. 27, 9:45 a.m.-4 p.m., at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Registration opens Jan. 6 with the full program is to be announced on that date.

Despite the state’s abundance of lakes, rivers, groundwater and streams, more than 40 percent of Minnesota’s waters are currently listed as impaired or polluted. Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith have declared a Year of Water Action to focus on improving access to clean water across Minnesota.

They encourage all Minnesotans to take a role in protecting our state's most precious resource for future generations. Learn more about the Year of Water Action here.

MPCA to hold open houses on wild rice sulfate standard

MPCA studies wild rice

The MPCA will host three open houses on the wild rice sulfate standard rulemaking in January 2017.  The main purpose of the open houses is to provide the interested public with an opportunity to learn more about the MPCA's proposed approach for revisions to its wild rice sulfate water quality standard before the proposed rule goes out on public notice later in 2017. MPCA staff will be available at the open houses to provide information about the MPCA's proposed approach to protect wild rice from sulfate, the list of proposed wild rice waters, the rulemaking schedule, and upcoming opportunities for public comment.

Additional information about the wild rice sulfate water quality standard is available on the MPCA's protecting wild rice webpage.

The open houses will be held at the following times and locations:

Twin Cities

Tuesday, Jan. 17, 6-8 p.m., Dakota Lodge, Thompson County Park, 1200 Stassen Lane, West St. Paul, MN 55118


Wednesday, Jan. 25,6:30-8:30 p.m.,Griggs Center 2nd Floor, Kirby Student Center University of Minnesota-Duluth, 1120 Kirby Drive,Duluth, MN 55812

Map and parking for UMD

Iron Range

Tuesday, Jan. 31, 6-8 p.m., Northeast Service Cooperative Office, 5525 Emerald Drive, Mountain Iron, MN 55768

For more information, please contact Patricia Engelking at pat.engelking@state.mn.us

MPCA seeks comments on proposed expansion of Jordan’s sanitary sewer system

The city of Jordan has proposed constructing the Jordan Southwest Interceptor, 2.53 miles of new underground sewage pipes to provide sanitary sewer service to current and future development areas within the city, and to areas the city anticipates annexing.

The sewer extension is designed to accommodate the city’s projected residential and commercial growth in western and southwestern Jordan. The sewer interceptor line will have a capacity of 13.1 million gallons a day, which accounts for both current and future needs.

The MPCA has prepared an environmental assessment worksheet on the proposed construction to describe the project and its potential impact on the environment. It details the construction site(s), nearby residences, water bodies, and wells, air and odor emissions, and more.

Comments on the worksheet must be in writing and submitted by 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 25, 2017, to Kim Grosenheider (651-757-2170) at the MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155-4194.

Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit opens Jan. 7 at Lanesboro

Root River in southeast Minnesota

Lanesboro is the next stop for the Smithsonian Water/Ways travelling exhibit Jan. 7 through Feb. 19. Lanesboro Arts, Commonweal Theatre Company, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, Lanesboro Museum, and Friends of the Root River are partnering to develop and present dynamic local programs and engagement initiatives that will bring together the storyline of the Root River Watershed. These activities will run concurrently with the exhibits from the Smithsonian Institute and the Minnesota Humanities Center.

Opening day Jan. 7 begins with a “water blessing” ceremony at 3 p.m. at the Lanesboro Dam, followed by a 4 p.m. reception at the Lanesboro Arts Exhibition Gallery. The opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting will be at 7:30 p.m. at Commonweal Theater. A host of special events are scheduled through Feb. 19, such as: Jan. 19-fish snow sculpture, Jan. 21-candlelight snowshoe, Feb. 4-family sled dog day, and Feb. 16-18-H2O Ten, eight short plays about water. The entire list is available on the Minnesota Humanities Center-Lanesboro Arts webpage. See a collection of Lanesboro water stories on the We Are Water: Lanesboro webpage.

Water/Ways is a traveling exhibition and community engagement initiative of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program. In Minnesota, Water/Ways is led by the Minnesota Humanities Center in partnership with MPCA, Minnesota a Historical Society, Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Section of the American Water Works Association. Previously, the exhibit visited New London-Spicer, St. Peter, Red Wing, and Sandstone. The tour concludes Feb. 25-April 9 at Detroit Lakes.

Listening sessions: MPCA heard you and here’s what we’re doing

The MPCA held listening sessions throughout Minnesota in October to hear concerns and comments about the permitting process from wastewater discharge facilities. (See the special November edition of On Point for a summary of comments.) Starting this month in On Point, the agency will list a comment and the agency’s response.

This month’s comment: The MPCA website is very confusing. You have to click on “water” to get to “wastewater” stuff. This should be changed.

Agency response: The MPCA is overhauling its wastewater webpages. While still listed under the “water” tab, the agency’s designers and wastewater staff are working to make it easier to access information about wastewater permits. For example, check out the new feature, “Question of the day” in the upper right corner of the main wastewater webpage.

With tens of thousands of pages and documents on its website, overhauling the wastewater information will be a slow process. The MPCA welcomes suggestions – please contact Joel Peck at the phone number or email below. Meanwhile, the agency encourages permit holders to bookmark the main wastewater webpage: www.pca.state.mn.us/water/municipal-wastewater.

Also note that the MPCA recently updated the map of compliance and enforcement staff by county: www.pca.state.mn.us/sites/default/files/wq-wwtp1-10.pdf.

The MPCA is holding an additional listening session for wastewater discharge permit holders on the Iron Range Jan. 10, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., at the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board in Eveleth. Contact Joel Peck, municipal liaison, at 651-757-2202 or joel.peck@state.mn.us for more information.

In the news and online: Lawsuit dropped, cinnamon in water samples