Action Alert – Send a comment to MPCA on Trash by Friday

Hello Friends of Lake Hiawatha,

Please take 2 minutes today to send a quick email to the MPCA on trash by this Friday, February 9, 4:30 pm.

Sample Message (see also below)  Action Alert FOLH comments MPCA 2017 Triennial Standards Review Process

Problem – Trash is flowing into Lake Hiawatha, through the north pipe and our city has less incentive to fix this problem because trash is not yet included by the MPCA as a pollutant.

Solution – Ask the MPCA to list trash as a regulated pollutant like other states like California.

Take Action –  Send this sample email below to

  • before by this Friday, February 9, 4:30 pm

Background Resources

SAMPLE EMAIL – Cut and Paste (and add why you care) into your email to

Subject:  2017 Triennial Standards Review Process Comments – let’s reduce trash too!

From – Your name, address, email


Catherine O’Dell, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Road North, Saint Paul, MN 55155-4194

Subject:  2017 Triennial Standards Review Process Comments

Dear Catherine O’Dell:

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments during the State of Minnesota’s 2017 Triennial Standards Review (TSR) Process.

As a volunteer with the Friends of Lake Hiawatha we hope to reduce the large volume of trash flowing into our lake after each rain event.

I am writing to ask the MPCA to include a trash-specific water quality standard (WQS) in Minnesota Administrative Rules Chapter 7050, Waters of the State.

Minnesota Administrative Rules Chapter 7050 includes a system of beneficial uses for the various waters of the state, narrative and numeric water quality standards to protect the beneficial uses of our water resources for aquatic life, wildlife, recreation, aesthetic enjoyment and navigation

Currently, the Minnesota Administrative Rules do not contain a water quality standard specific for trash. Rather, the Minnesota Administrative Rules contain a general standard for the state related to nuisance conditions that may be interpreted to include trash.

Currently the majority of trash enters water bodies through wind or storm water runoff transport of trash from littering or illegal dumping – including cigarette butts, paper, fast food containers, plastic grocery bags, glass/plastic/metal cans and bottles, used diapers, construction site debris, old tires, and appliances, clothing, etc. Common trash items contain numerous dangerous pollutants which are dispersed in our shared water resource.

The presence of trash in our water bodies adversely affects beneficial uses including, but not limited to, threats to human health, aquatic life, and wildlife.

No agency currently bears any responsibility to pick up trash pollution or to limit its intrusion into our waterways, having a water quality standard that includes trash will encourage municipalities to reduce trash in impaired waters.

To advance local anti-littering ordinances and programs we need a regulatory mechanism to incentivize agencies to properly enforce their ordinances or address trash via other mechanisms (installation of mitigation systems, green infrastructure, street sweeping, storm drain system catch basin cleanings, clean-up events, anti-littering/dumping signage).

We are asking the MPCA to add trash-specific water quality standard that directly identifies trash as a pollutant. An example of a narrative WQS that could be added to Section 7050.0210 of the Minnesota Administrative Rules is provided below:

Discharge of Trash Prohibited. Trash shall not be present in surface waters and along shorelines or adjacent areas in amounts that adversely affect beneficial uses or cause nuisance.

Having a trash-specific water quality standard in Minnesota (like other states, including California) will allow for further regulatory actions such as development of trash total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) and/or inclusion of trash management actions in National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase I and Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permits.

There is a need to address trash in Minnesota to protect and enhance our water bodies. Adding a trash-specific WQS to Section 7050.0210 of the Minnesota Administrative Rules is a good first step to better manage trash in Minnesota.

Thank you for considering my comments!