September 2017 Industrial Stormwater News

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spring 2012

Welcome to the Industrial Stormwater Program, September 2017 Newsletter! 

In this issue:

Featured article: How's the water?


Britt Gangeness manages the Living Green 365 newsletter and she recently wrote the following article:

Minnesota has a very unusual geographic position. We sit atop a triple, continental-scale water divide. Almost all of our water arrives as rain or snow. We have some very high quality waters, but Minnesota also faces some serious challenges.  

Nitrate in groundwater is a growing concern

Three out of four Minnesotans get their drinking water from groundwater sources, but groundwater is threatened by overuse and contamination in some places.

Nitrate is one of the most common water pollutants in Minnesota groundwater, affecting a large number of private wells and public water supplies. Elevated nitrate in drinking water can be harmful to human health, specifically to the health of infants. Septic systems, fertilizers, and manure are major sources of nitrate pollution in Minnesota.

40% of lakes and streams are not good enough for swimming and fishing

Statewide, 40% of the lakes and streams in Minnesota are not meeting standards set for safe swimming, fishing, or drinking. In the northeastern part of the state, a higher percentage of lakes and streams meet water quality standards, compared to central or southern regions.

Water quality in a body of water depends a lot on the land around it. In watersheds dominated by agricultural and urban land, half or fewer of the lakes fully support the water quality standards for swimming due to contaminants from runoff and drainage. 

Runoff in urban areas and drainage from agriculture fields move water into streams and rivers quickly, increasing the speed and volume of water in streams and rivers. Sometimes these flows bring pollution that might otherwise be removed by wetlands or other landscape features.

Our water infrastructure is aging

Our infrastructure is badly in need of attention. Water systems are aging. Many equipment and pipes are at the end of or past their expected life span. Over the next 20 years, Minnesota will have some big bills to pay to upgrade wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. We will need to decide how to equitably pay for these costs.

Water issues vary by region

Water quality issues vary by region depending on geology, land use, and other factors. You can find more details about water quality issues near you in these information packets.

  • Northwest Minnesota: Becker, Clay, Grant, Kittson, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Roseau, Traverse, and Wilkin counties.
  • West Central Minnesota: Big Stone, Chippewa, Douglas, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Morrison, Pope, Stearns, Stevens, Swift, and Todd counties.
  • Northeast Minnesota: Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Kanabec, Lake, Mille Lacs, Pine, and Saint Louis counties.
  • Metro Minnesota: Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Scott, Sherburne, Washington, and Wright counties.
  • Southwest Minnesota: Cottonwood, Jackson, Law Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock, and Yellow Medicine counties.
  • South Central Minnesota: Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Le Sueur, McLeod, Nicollet, Renville, Sibley, Waseca, and Watonwan counties.
  • Southeast Minnesota:Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, and Winona counties.
  • North Central Minnesota: Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake of the Woods, and Wadena counties.  

What do you hope the water is like in 2025?

At the current level of effort, there will be only a 7 percent improvement in water quality statewide by 2025, and without further action, water quality will get worse. That's why Governor Mark Dayton is calling on Minnesotans to learn about these issues and share their ideas with him for '25 by ‘25' Water Quality Goals, which would spur collaboration and action to improve Minnesota’s water quality 25 percent by 2025.

Get involved!

get involved

Breweries and distilleries: do you need permit coverage?


Breweries, distilleries, wineries and cideries are expanding at an unprecedented rate in Minnesota, with no slowdown in sight.  MPCA staff want to make sure that these facilities and their consultants are aware that this industry sector may be required to comply with certain environmental regulations, including:

MPCA’s Small Business Environmental Assistance Program staff offer this list of requirements that may be applicable for facilities on their Brewing and Distilling web page.

This website also offers information about environmental sustainability and conservation, a topic that is applicable to all 29 industrial sectors, plus, greening your business, facility/building conservation for energy, water, and waste, funding opportunities for small businesses including grants and loans.

The page emphasizes water and energy reduction practices:  Reducing waste = saves money. Though some of the content is brewery/distillery-specific, there are practical tips and suggestions that are applicable to many types of industries that manufacture products or recycle waste. 

If you are a small business and want free confidential regulatory or waste reduction assistance within any industry sector, please visit the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program website or call technical staff at: 651-282-6143 or 800-657-3938.