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Comment period extended for pollution study on 8 Pope County Lakes

DETROIT LAKES -- The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has extended the comment period for a TMDL report, or a pollution study, conducted for eight lakes in Pope County that are impaired due to excess phosphorus. The lakes are Ann, Emily, Gilchrist, Leven, Malmedal, Pelican, Reno, and Strandness. Comments on the report must be sent in writing to the MPCA by Oct. 17, 2012.

A TMDL report determines the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can accept from various sources and still meet water quality standards. Phosphorus was identified as the primary pollutant leading to excessive growth of plants, such as algae, in these lakes. The study determined phosphorus reductions ranging from 35 to 90 percent are needed for these lakes to meet state standards.

Sources of phosphorus include feedlots and wastewater treatment facilities; stormwater runoff; loading from upstream waters; atmospheric deposition; subsurface sewage treatment systems; groundwater, internal loading, and in-stream erosion. Where specific sources were identified, the report assigned allocations to them. These include the Blair Farms Inc. feedlot, wastewater treatment facilities in Lowry and Starbuck, and stormwater runoff from construction activties in Pope County.

Implementation of the TMDL will be accomplished by both state and local action. Water quality restoration efforts will be led by the Pope County Soil and Water Conservation District, Pope County, the Chippewa River Watershed Project, and through lake associations and the Pope County Coalition of Lakes Association.

Copies of the TMDL report are available for review at the MPCA office at 714 Lake Ave. in Detroit Lakes and on the MPCA's Pope County 8 Lakes TMDL webpage. Alternatively, an electronic copy of the report is available from Tim James of the MPCA (email or phone 218-846-8103).

Written comments must include (1) a statement of your interest in the draft TMDL report; (2) a statement of the action you wish the MPCA to take, including specific references to sections of the draft TMDL report that you believe should be changed; and (3) the reasons supporting your position, stated with sufficient specificity to allow the MPCA commissioner to investigate the merits of your position.

Comments should be mailed to: Tim James, MPCA, 714 Lake Ave., Ste. 220, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501; or they can be sent by e-mail to Comments must be received by Oct. 17, 2012.

People may also request a public informational meeting to discuss the report or to have an issue addressed at a meeting of the MPCA Citizen's Board. Call Tim James for more information.