Northland waterways added to pollution
Seven lakes in St. Louis and Cook counties and parts of
nine Lake Superior Basin waterways are among the state's
Duluth News Tribune and Associated Press
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on Monday added
seven St. Louis and Cook county lakes and portions of
nine Lake Superior Basin rivers and creeks to its list
of 912 polluted state waters.
PCA officials released a list of 211 additional Minnesota
lakes and waterways recently identified as "impaired,"
or too polluted to meet water-quality standards for fishing,
swimming or drinking.
Monday's list will be submitted to the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency in April. If approved, the number of
known polluted Minnesota lakes and streams will reach
920 and 203, respectively.
Pollutants include bacteria, mercury, sediment and excess
nutrients, such as phosphorus or nitrogen. Driving cars,
fertilizing lawns and runoff cause contamination.
Just 5 percent of Minnesota's 69,200 miles of streams
have been tested for contamination, said PCA senior engineer
Howard Markus. Of those examined, 40 percent have unsafe
levels of pollutants.
Markus said 12 percent of Minnesota's 11,842 lakes have
been tested. One-third of them were found dangerously
The first list was released in 1998 as part of the federal
Clean Water Act, which requires states to analyze contamination
in lakes and waterways and set goals to reduce contamination
to safe levels.
Updates are required every two years. In 2002, the PCA
listed 159 lakes and 10 rivers in the Lake Superior Basin
According to Monday's list:
Amity and Deer creeks suffer from high levels of sediment
and algae, which obstruct sunlight and threaten fish or
Sediment and algae threaten aquatic life in the French,
Nemadji, Poplar and Talmadge rivers.
Mercury and PCBs contaminate parts of the St. Louis River.
Mercury contaminates Dick, Duncan and Hand lakes in Cook
Mercury contaminates Big Bear, Little Alden and Mashkenode
lakes in St. Louis County.
The PCA is taking public comment on its list through
Feb. 12, which is available at www.pca.state.mn.us/water/tmdl.html.
Duluth's public hearing is 4-6 p.m. Jan. 20 at 525 Lake
Ave. S. For information, call (800) 657-3864.