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Chippewa River impairments focus for water quality meeting

BENSON -- Impairments to the Chippewa River will be the focus of public informational meetings being co-hosted by the Chippewa River Watershed Project and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Everyone is welcome to attend either of two meetings which will be conducted from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at McKinneys on Southside, 300 14th St. S., Benson.

The draft list of impaired waters identified for 2012 will be discussed. The Chippewa River is looking at 46 possible new impairments.

When impairments are identified, states are required to complete studies of the total daily maximum load and develop strategies to address the pollutants.

The total maximum daily load is a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still safely meet water quality standards, according to the federal definition.

The meeting in Benson is among a series of statewide meetings being hosted by the MPCA on water quality issues in various watersheds. The draft 2012 list contains 2,171 impairments requiring total maximum daily load studies, according to the MPCA.

Statewide, the proposed new listings are dominated by impaired biological communities (44 percent of new listings) and bacteria impairments (23 percent of new listings). Also new to the draft 2012 list is the first-ever listing of chlorpyrifos, a broad-spectrum insecticide used on food and non-food crops, with greenhouse and turf applications.

Four impairments are proposed to be removed from the list as a result of activities in the watershed that have improved water quality.

The draft 2012 list is the first developed under a refined approach to assessment that focuses on comprehensive assessment of water quality within major watersheds.

For the 2012 list, the assessed watersheds are: Buffalo, Cedar, Chippewa, Le Sueur, Little Fork, Mississippi (Red Wing), Mississippi (St. Cloud), North Fork Crow, Pomme de Terre, Red River of the North (Headwaters), Root, St. Croix (Stillwater), St. Louis, Sauk, Shell Rock, and Tamarac (Red River of the North).

The proposed 2012 impaired waters list and methodology for listing will be available on the MPCA's impaired waters list Page on the MPCA website before the first public meeting. The list will be formally on public notice from Jan. 23 through Feb. 27, 2012. Submit questions, comments, or requests for additional information to Howard Markus at MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road N., Saint Paul, MN 55155, call Markus at 651-757-2551, or email him at howard.markus@