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Published April 24, 2013, 06:52 PM

Minnesota towns unhappy with proposed phosphorous regulations

Minnesota towns in the Red River Basin are fighting proposed regulations dealing with phosphorus discharged in the the rivers.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

Minnesota towns in the Red River Basin are fighting proposed regulations dealing with phosphorus discharged in the the rivers. The new rules would limit the amount of phosphorus released into streams to cut down on algae growth in Lake Winnipeg.

Phosphorus is a naturally occurring element. It is a byproduct of human and animal waste and is also used as a fertilizer. But too much in the water system can be an issue for lakes.

It's estimated that 46,000 pounds of phosphorus enter lake Winnipeg every day, and that has caused algae problems in the lake. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency wants to cut the amount city waste water plants can release back into the river. Wayne Johnson at the Thief River Falls water plant says that it's agriculture runoff that is by far the largest source of phosphorus draining into Lake Winnipeg. He says the expensive chemicals needed to fix the issues would also cause the lagoons to fill with sludge. The MPCA wants to limit the amount of phosphorus released to one milligram per liter of water. At the same time just across the river in North Dakota there would still be no limit. Grand Forks Public director Todd Feland says regulation could come over the next decade. Feland says the issue is being studied by the North Dakota, but thinks there may be other ways to lessen the about of phosphorus running into the river. Minnesota towns affected by the regulations say they are not done with this fight.

Many of the cities including East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Roseau and Thief River Falls have pledged to formally or informally fight the new phosphorus regulations.

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