Metro water quality suffers

A new report on water quality in the Twin Cities shows problems throughout much of the area.

The report by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says that due to the density of industry, housing and roads, lakes and streams in the Mississippi River Watershed in the vicinity of the Twin Cities are stressed by high levels of bacteria and nutrients.

Those surface waters also are troubled by eroding stream banks and the loss of sensitive aquatic species.

The Mississippi River-Twin Cities Watershed encompasses a large portion of the metro area. The watershed is home to more than 1.8 million people across 99 cities, more than 500 species of wildlife and fish, and numerous kinds of aquatic invertebrates.

Highlights of the report include:

  •  Based on water clarity and levels of algae present, 84 lakes assessed support aquatic recreation, such as swimming and boating, while 87 assessed do not.
  •  Fifty-one lakes were found to have fish with high levels of mercury, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and/or PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate). Because of this, fish consumption advisories are recommended for lakes across the watershed.
  •   Eight previously impaired lakes have been restored, and are considered healthy.
  •  Based on monitoring the amounts and types of fish and bugs found in streams, two streams assessed support aquatic life, while 21 assessed do not.
  •   Due to high levels of bacteria, only one stream assessed supports aquatic recreation, while 17 assessed do not.

Read the MPCA report.