A section of the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System being constructed in South Dakota
Governor Mark Dayton traveled to Luverne last week to meet with local officials and area legislators to discuss next steps in advancing the construction of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System. Governor Dayton listened, asked questions, and offered his continued support to ensure the project continues on course toward completion. The Governor stressed that the project is essential to maintaining a high quality of life in southwestern Minnesota, and in supporting the continued economic growth of the entire region.
“This project is critically important to the people and businesses of southwestern Minnesota,” said Governor Dayton. “Without it, business growth would be stifled, new jobs would be lost, and residents would continue being forced to buy bottled water. I will continue doing everything possible to see this project through to completion.”
A shortage of water in communities across southwestern Minnesota is stifling economic growth in the region, and diminishing the quality of life enjoyed by its citizens. Luverne’s isobutanol plant has expressed wishes to expand, but that expansion has been hampered due to a lack of available water in the area. The quality of aquifer water in many communities is so poor that residents have been forced to drink bottled water.
Irrigation System at a farm in Rosholt, Minnesota
‘Unsession’ initiative streamlines permitting and payment process for Minnesotans
A newly designed web-based system that simplifies the steps to getting water permits and paying for them online is being rolled out by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The new MNDNR Permitting and Reporting System (MPARS) is part of Gov. Mark Dayton’s initiative to streamline state government services.
The new application at www.mndnr.gov/mpars will save an anticipated $255,000 annually and allows DNR employees to devote more time to technical assistance and field work.
“DNR employees will have 5,000 more hours every year to protect and improve our environment, thanks to this ‘Unsession’ reform,” Dayton said. “I thank Commissioner Tom Landwehr and his staff for making these commonsense changes that will dramatically reduce the time to process more than 10,000 water permit applications each year.”
The old paper application process was time consuming and inefficient with department staff spending hours hand-sorting applications and on manual data entry.
“We’ve tried to make it as easy and as pain-free as possible for water users while giving us a way to more precisely manage and conserve a precious natural resource,” said Landwehr. “We’ll be able to better track our water use, identify permit violations and increase compliance.”
The department processes more than 10,000 permit applications and transactions each year, including reports on annual water use. Cities, farmers, businesses and landowners that use 1 million gallons of water each year, or more than 10,000 gallons a day, or work in public waters are required to get a water use permit or permit to work in public waters.
Applicants now have access to maps and can track the progress of their applications online. They are also automatically alerted if they don’t need a DNR water permit.
Minnesota resident military veterans with service-connected permanent disability, as defined by the U.S. Veterans Administration, may obtain an application online at www.mndnr.gov/military
Screenshot: PCA Stormwater Manual Wiki
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency launched a wiki version of the Minnesota Stormwater Manual that will serve as an invaluable reference for controlling urban stromwater pollution of lakes and streams.
Minnesota state agencies are eliminating the use of a harmful chemical in their offices found in several household cleaning products. Through Executive Order by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton in April, 2011, all state agencies will no longer purchase hand soaps and dish and laundry cleaning products that contain triclosan by June of this year. State agencies are required to implement plans to reduce pollution and toxics, increase energy efficiency, and conserve resources.
The Interagency Pollution Prevention Advisory Team (IPPAT) has the ability make changes to the Model Sustainability Plan within Governor Dayton’s Executive Order 11-13. The state recently developed contracts for hand soap and dish and laundry cleaning products that are triclosan-free. In some situations, uses of triclosan-containing products may be allowed in medical or other specific settings.
Triclosan is antibiotic resistant and causes health and environmental problems. It is an ingredient in products such as hand soap, toothpaste, cleaning products, fabric, toys, kitchenware and industrial pesticides. There is no evidence that triclosan provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water. Triclosan-free products are readily available in many stores.
“By purchasing items without triclosan, state agencies are doing their part to keep this harmful chemical out of Minnesota waters,” said Cathy Moeger, sustainability manager at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
One of the projects overseen by the MPCA was the construction of the Maplewood Mall stormwater system, which will contribute to the improvement in Kohlmann Lake’s water quality by preventing 50 pounds of phosphorus and five tons of sediment per year from entering the lake.
Some of the most innovative engineering projects undertaken in Minnesota in 2012 were set into motion as a result of environmental initiatives undertaken by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota (ACEC/MN) recently announced the winners of its 2013 Engineering Excellence awards. Several of the 29 award-winning projects were set into motion as a result of environmental initiatives undertaken by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The projects represent some of the most innovative engineering work undertaken in Minnesota in 2012. Some were directly funded or overseen by MPCA; others were initiated in response to the agency’s environmental work. Three of these environmental projects will compete for recognition at the national level.
One of the award-winning projects converted an Edina parking garage into a new drinking water treatment plant. When it was discovered that the city’s groundwater was contaminated with vinyl chloride, a new treatment system was needed to protect the quality of the water supply.
The MPCA provided financial support for the project’s design, while the city funded construction and ongoing operation of the facility. The unique project, designed by the engineering firm AECOM, allowed the city to reuse an existing structure. This eliminated the need to use valuable green space for infrastructure improvements.
Another project recognized by ACEC/MN was an innovative stormwater management system at Maplewood Mall. The system, designed by Barr Engineering, will capture and treat 90% of the stormwater runoff at the site. It incorporates rain gardens, permeable pavement crosswalks, a cistern that captures roof runoff for irrigation, and some 200 trees.