Nov 9, 2021 - News

"Forever chemicals" found in more Minnesota waters

man looks out at lake phalen in minnesota

Lake Phalen in Ramsey County made the MPCA's list because of chemicals found in fish tissue. Photo: Michael Siluk/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

State regulators are raising concerns about water quality at hundreds more lakes, rivers, streams and wetland areas.

Driving the news: More than 300 bodies of water were added to the updated "impaired waters" list proposed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, bringing the total of troubled sites to nearly 3,000.

  • The additions include bodies of water where "forever chemicals" were newly detected in fish tissue, including a stretch of the St. Croix River between Taylors Falls Dam and Lake St. Croix.

Context: The list, based on water quality monitoring, is released every two years in accordance with the federal Clean Water Act.

  • MPCA then works with partners to try to address the pollution problems.

Between the lines: Most of the impairments are "unhealthy conditions for fish and bugs," per an MPCA release.

  • Other reasons include bacteria, sulfate levels in wild rice and and the presence of PFAS, the "forever chemicals" used in plastic and other products.

What they're saying: "Minnesota's water is its most valuable resource and everyone expects our lakes and streams to be suitable for swimming and fishing," MPCA commissioner Katrina Kessler said in a statement. "While Minnesota has made progress in cleaning up waters, too many of our lakes and streams are in still trouble."

1 bright spot: MPCA was able to remove 31 bodies of water from the last list thanks to improved water quality.

Go deeper: The full draft list, which is open to public comment, is posted on MPCA's website.


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