MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More of Minnesota’s lakes and streams are reaching concerning levels of contamination, and it’s making swimming and fishing questionable in more places.
New data from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) shows there are 305 new bodies of water that qualify as “impaired,” bringing the total number of such lakes and streams in the state to 2,904.READ MORE: Supply And Drought Issues Impacting Christmas Tree Prices
WCCO looked at what’s happening, and what Minnesotans can do to help.
Water is Minnesota’s most famous attraction, and most Minnesotans have a favorite body of water. Lake Phalen is Thavy and Daniel Zumwalde’s favorite.
“People watching here is pretty great,” said Daneil Zamwalde, of St. Paul. “And it’s clean, and it’s beautiful.”
But beauty can be deceiving. A number of metro lakes were added to the impaired list because of contamination in fish: Gervais Lake, Keller Lake, Phalen Lake, Rebecca Lake and Tanners Lake.
Thavy Zumwalde was surprised to hear about Lake Phalen.
“The fish or the small animals in the lake is gonna be in a bad situation that the lake is not giving good life to the animals inside there,” she said.
Added Daniel Zumwalde: “Can’t really go swimming, because it feels gross just hearing that it’s impaired.”
A new pollution report shows fish contamination PFOS is on the rise. So are sulfite impairments, which is putting the northwest Minnesota wild rice production in danger.READ MORE: TSA: Record Numbers Of Travelers For Thanksgiving
Now, 305 bodies of water are now added to the impaired list.
Catherine Neuschler works with MPCA and is the manager of water assessments.
“It’s a report card where we need to go in and make those changes on what’s happening on the land or from permanent sources that may be impacting our water,” she said.
Seventy-five percent of lakes are safe to swim in. The contamination in streams is increasing but there is good news, too.
“We are taking more impairments and water bodies off the list this year than we ever have, so we are seeing improvement…it just takes time,” Neuschler said.
It’s leaving many to wait and wonder.
“What can a citizen of St. Paul, a citizen of this earth do to improve the water of our planet?” Thavy Zumwalde asked.
To answer question, the MPCA says Minnesotans can clean out gutters, clean up after dogs and attend the upcoming public meetings on how to protect our waters.
Just because a lake or stream is on the impaired list does not mean its unsafe to swim in or eat fish from the water. It may just need to be done in moderation.MORE NEWS: Remains Of Missing Woman Found Near Hinckley
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