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WATER QUALITY

Willmar residents can help keep pollutants from the state's waterways by keeping grass clippings and leaves out of the gutters, using a rain barrel or even considering a rain garden, according to the annual stormwater report presented to the Willmar City Council on June 6.
Improving water quality depends on conservation work on private lands. Chippewa County showcased examples where willing landowners are partnering with conservation agencies.
Known as “forever chemicals” for their persistence in the environment, PFAS have been popular with manufacturers for decades and can be found in everything from nonstick cookware coating to fire-extinguishing foam. Higher levels of exposure to PFAS have been linked to increased cancer risk, developmental delays in children, damage to organs such as the liver and thyroid, increased cholesterol levels and reduced immune functions, especially among young children.
Lowell Deede, a retired wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Office, began volunteering for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in 2015, collecting water samples and measuring water clarity.

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Members of the Advisory Council on Wells and Borings for the state of Minnesota include six licensed well contractors, a Willmar business owner among them.
Residents in the large watershed learned of the challenges faced as a newly formed Chippewa River Watershed Association begins developing a plan to improve water quality. The new organization is part of the state's "one watershed, one plan" approach to water quality improvements.
Downstream landowners opposed a request by the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative to extend its wastewater discharge period by an extra month into April. A compromise agreement will allow it do so, but it must stop the discharges if waters reach agreed-upon trigger levels.
PFAS are a group of more than 5,000 chemicals used in products such as nonstick cookware, fast food wrappers, pizza boxes and cosmetics such as eyeliner and foundation. Increasing evidence suggests they are harmful to humans and the environment.
Summary: Remember the importance of water quality.
Hawk Creek continues to carry sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen loads well above water quality standards or goals. Water- and wind-driven erosion of soil and too much water moving too fast are the problems.

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Minnesota health department and pollution control officials estimate the state will need to spend $12.5 billion over the next 20 years to keep up with waste and drinking water needs.
Renville County has issued permits for 1,682 septic system installations since 1998, but it is estimated that there remain more than 792 systems which have not been inspected and have a high potential of being noncompliant.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, are a group of chemicals used in products like nonstick cookware, fast food wrappers and cosmetics, but increasing evidence suggests they are harmful to humans and the environment.

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