Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Comments sought on Lake Sarah water quality improvement report
Oct. 18, 2010

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

INDEPENDENCE, GREENFIELD, MN – The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is seeking comments on a water quality improvement report for Lake Sarah, located in Hennepin County.

The report, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study, focuses on pollution caused by excess nutrients. A public comment period began Oct. 11 and continues through Wednesday, Nov. 10.

Lake Sarah is part of the Pioneer-Sarah Creek Watershed. The 552-acre lake is a popular recreational water body used extensively for fishing, boating, and aesthetic viewing. The lake has a maximum depth of 60 feet, and mean depth of 18.2 feet.

Lake Sarah receives stormwater runoff from a 4,608-acre predominantly agricultural watershed which contains portions of five municipalities — Greenfield, Independence, Corcoran, Loretto, and Medina.

The lake was placed on the state’s impaired waters list in 2006, because of excess nutrient levels, particularly phosphorus. Excess phosphorus can create poor water quality conditions causing frequent summer algae blooms, which limit recreational activities.

The TMDL study indicated that the watershed phosphorus load will need to be reduced by 53 percent, and internal (in-lake) loading must be reduced by 100 percent to attain background levels for Lake Sarah to meet water quality standards.

The TMDL report is part of a nationwide effort under the federal Clean Water Act to identify and clean up pollution in streams, rivers, and lakes.

It is a scientific study that calculates the maximum amount of a pollutant a water body can receive, known as the “loading capacity,” without exceeding water quality standards. Every two years, states are required to submit a list of impaired waters to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

After receiving public comments, the MPCA will revise the draft Lake Sarah TMDL report and submit it to the EPA for approval.

Following approval, an implementation plan will be developed to reduce phosphorus pollution in the lake.

The Lake Sarah TMDL draft report is available at www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/water/water-types-and-programs/minnesotas-impaired-waters-and-tmdls/tmdl-projects/upper-mississippi-river-basin-tmdl-projects/project-lake-sarah-excess-nutrients.html or at the MPCA St. Paul office, 520 Lafayette Road North.

Comments may be submitted to Barb Peichel, MPCA, 520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN 55155. For more information, contact Peichel at 651-757-2646 or barbara.peichel@state.mn.us.

Written comments must include all of the following:

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 that you believe should be changed.

3. Specific reasons supporting your position.

More information on the state’s impaired waters list and TMDL studies is available at www.pca.state.mn.us/water/tmdl/index.html, or by calling 800-657-3864.

Public meeting set this week in Independence

A public meeting regarding the Lake Sarah Nutrient TMDL will be Thursday, Oct. 21 at the Independence City Hall at 5 p.m.

Hosted by the Pioneer Sarah Creek Watershed Management Commission, the meeting is intended to offer question and answer to the public regarding the TMDL study, such that stakeholders who wish to make comment during the comment period may obtain answers and clarification enabling a more accurate comment filing.

No comment will be transcribed or provided to the MPCA or EPA from this meeting.

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