Report: Agricultural, Urban Runoff Contaminating Minnesota’s Waters

Posted in: Drought, Water Conservation, Water quality
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Article courtesy of Ashley Roberts | April 29, 2015 | CBS Minnesota | Shared as educational material

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new report from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency shows a steady flow of problems into Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and streams.

The agency found that water quality varies across the state, but a.

The report, which took several years for the agency to produce, says agricultural and urban runoff is a major factor in Minnesota’s water quality problem.

Minnesota has 12,000 lakes and more than 69,000 miles of streams.

The report found that many of the state’s waters are filled with high bacteria levels and mercury contamination. Waters near heavily farmed areas have high levels of nitrogen and even sediment.

The study also found the vast majority of examined streams and lakes contained fish tainted by mercury.

Officials say their plan to restore the state’s waters includes stream buffers, storm water controls and lake treatments.

“Are we going to start to make things better for our children, our grandchildren?” said Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday. “Or are we going to allow things to continue to deteriorate, in which case they, our social fabric and our economic system are going to pay the price.”

The Pollution Control Agency says the new report comes only halfway through the assessment process, meaning more findings will come in the future.

How Long Could Clean Up Take?

Officials say it took decades for the state’s waters to become polluted. So, it’s expected to take about 20 to 30 years to clean them.

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