Site-specific sulfate standards for wild rice waters: Will they work?

UMN Duluth biologist John Pastor with group

September 15, 2023: “The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has been trying for years to figure out how to get taconite mines and wastewater treatment plants to reduce the sulfate in their effluent because it damages wild rice,” Stephanie Hemphill reports in Agate. “The current effort involves something called Site Specific Standards, and it looks likely that it will have no more success than previous attempts. That hasn’t stopped two mining giants from giving it a try”— U.S. Steel and Cleveland Cliffs, in northern Minnesota. Read the full story.

The MPCA’s proposed framework allows industries to apply for sulfate standards tailored to specific water bodies: that framework is the topic of a public info session hosted by the agency Wednesday, Sept. 27 from 1:00 to 2:00 pm Central. 

Photo: UMN Duluth biologist John Pastor, second from left, explains his research into the effects of sulfate on wild rice. Courtesy Fond du Lac Natural Resources, reprinted in Hemphill’s Agate article Sept. 15, 2023.