by Karin L. Nauber

karin@inhnews.com

The ongoing battle to improve the water quality of Lake Osakis received additional help to do so—a $300,000 grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

According to Todd Soil and Water Conservation District Director Tim Stieber, “It is an application [for the grant] that is made available annually if there are funds available. The source of funds is the 319 Clean Water Act which is a federal program supplied to states through the Environmental Protection Agency.”

Section 319 of the Clean Water Act deals with nonpoint source pollution.

Nonpoint Source (NPS) pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. It picks up and carries natural and human-made pollutants, depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground waters, according to the EPA website.

For the Lake Osakis grant, Stieber said, “The funds are to reduce nutrient losses from animal feeding operations in the Osakis Minor watershed. There are about 30 of these operations and most have some improvements that could be made to reduce nutrient losses during periods of runoff.”

This runoff, particularly phosphorus, but also nitrogen, has caused algae blooms which reduce the use of the lake for recreational purposes and can be a threat to fish, as well.

The nutrients in the runoff come from many sources including fertilizer, manure, septic systems and municipal waste processing systems, according to Stieber.

The funds will be used for cost sharing with landowners on some projects that will help clean up the lake...

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