Nitrogen pollution widespread in southern Minnesota waters, report finds

  • Article by: Josephine Marcotty , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 27, 2013 - 12:11 AM

A fourth of southern Minnesota’s lakes and rivers are too tainted to use as drinking water, report says.

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callmestupidJun. 27, 13 7:36 AM

Bye Bye Fishy.. Next is Bye Bye Atmosphere cause WE NEED OUR OIL

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sek2undrstndJun. 27, 13 8:16 AM

And we needed a report to tell us this? Look at the growth of the vegetation around and in some of these waterways and it will tell you all you need to know.

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timandtiaJun. 27, 13 9:01 AM

Hmmmm. No doubt that the farmer's are polluting the water. The government (and farmer's) wants the farmer's to plant as much as possible. We consumer's want farmer's to plant as much as possible for ethanol gasoline (and food). Who loses? We do (as well as the wildlife/nature) because we now have polluted water. Yes, the "water wars" are here.

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rlwr51Jun. 27, 13 9:16 AM

Corporate farming is all about their bottom line which is of course, how much money can I get today.

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pgoveJun. 27, 13 9:45 AM

Really, Commissioner, "Farmers are doing the best they can"?

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epacriticJun. 27, 1311:26 AM

Organic matter has mainly four elements, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. About 80% of the air is nitrogen gas, but, because the two atoms are very strongly connected, not directly available. Bacteria, and lightning can break this bond and the single nitrogen atom, called reactive nitrogen, now is available to be build first into ammonia, amino- acids and proteins or organic matter. Nitrogen atoms do not disappear, but will continuously be recycled. The nitrogen cycle, compared to the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen cycle, is very complicated and occurs on land, in water and in the air. If we look at human waste, the nitrogen will show up as proteins in feces and in the urine, as urea. When discharged the urine (urea) will be hydrolyze into ammonia and in turn will be oxidized by bacteria into nitrites and nitrates. The latter process requires oxygen and thus exerts directly an biochemical oxygen demand (tested as BOD), similar to bacteria converting carbonaceous waste into carbon dioxide and water. However, in all its forms (urea, ammonia and nitrates) it is a fertilizer for algae. EPA never implemented the Clean Water Act (CWA), because, by using an essential test incorrect, ignored 60% of the pollution in sewage. Among the sewage ignored all the nitrogenous (urine and protein) waste, while this waste also is a fertilizer for algae. EPA's claim that the CWA only was intended to take care of the oxygen depleting pollution in sewage, is really ridiculous and false, since this nitrogenous waste in sewage not only directly exerts and biochemical oxygen demand, but in addition for each pound will stimulate the growth of 20 pound of new algae. Of course when these algae die off, they again will exert an oxygen demand. So without treating nitrogenous waste in sewage, you really achieve nothing, besides wasting a lot of public money, BUT true you prevent odor problems. Even worse, in 1978 EPA already acknowledged that not only much better sewage treatment (including nitrogenous waste) was available, but could be build and operated at much lower cost, compared to the conventional, actual only odor control facilities. The presence of reactive nitrogen is measured as, ammonia, TKN (Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen or ammonia and organic nitrogen), nitrites and nitrates. A statement like too much nitrogen, without identifying the types of reactive nitrogen, does not mean anything.

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ruphinaJun. 27, 1311:38 AM

The pics show exactly what is wrong with the way we drain tile. A grass buffer is absolutely useless when the water is pied under it and directly into the ditch. The design should be two shallower troughs on the outside edge for the water to flow/discharge into, then the deeper central ditch for it to overflow the shallow troughs or seep into. Even then the central ditch should have overflow dams with small culverts at a lower level to impede flow during a downpour and let it progress downstream at a much more spread out timetable. Of course, this would require at least a 100 feet more ditch width and a lot of dirt moving and dam building, but the end result would be cleaner water, less flooding, some replenishing of aquifers, and enhanced wildlife corridors. Oh yeah- and probably more skeeters. Are we willing to pay to make it right? Bill G.

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cgcptomOct. 20, 13 1:11 PM

As a conservative, this I when I become concerned - when Governement involves itself. Government will lead to the degradation of all our lives. Capitalism can cure this issue. Look at Row Bot Systems as an example,

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