Public Comment Form

Commenting open: December 06, 2022 12:00AM CT - February 06, 2023 11:59AM CT.

Western Lake Superior Sanitary District Wastewater Treatment Facility - Wastewater Permit and Variances


We invite you to comment on the draft wastewater permit for the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District's wastewater treatment plant.


The Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) wastewater treatment plant serves Duluth, Cloquet, Hermantown, and the greater Duluth area. The facility discharges treated wastewater into the St. Louis River estuary leading into Lake Superior. It uses physical, chemical, and biological treatment systems. There are five monitoring stations for this facility. The facility is also 25 miles upstream from Duluth's drinking water intake.


WLSSD has requested a subsequent mercury variance because it cannot feasibly reduce mercury levels to meet the applicable water quality limit. The draft permit requires additional mercury monitoring, more restrictive interim mercury limits, and further investigation of potential mercury removal technologies to demonstrate their continued efforts to attain the water quality-based effluent limit.


The draft permit also continues a variance related to year-round disinfection. WLSSD has collected, analyzed, and reported several years of data showing that year-round disinfecting is not necessary to protect downstream drinking water sources. The variance requires the continuation of reporting, monitoring, testing, and evaluation.


You can learn more and ask questions at a public meeting on January 25 from 5-7 pm at the MPCA office in Duluth.


Water quality permits - or National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits - establish specific limits and requirements to protect Minnesota's surface and groundwater quality. Permits are regularly reviewed and updated as they expire, allowing the MPCA to incorporate new information about the impacts of pollutants on the environment in future permits. Permits are enforced through a combination of self-reporting and compliance monitoring.


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Thank you for providing feedback on this project. We value your comments and will use them to assess this project further. Please submit your comments and feedback before the end of the comment period.


If you want to submit a letter, you can upload the letter on this website or submit it via US Mail to the following address:


Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
c/o Stephanie Lyons
525 Lake Ave S, Ste 400
Duluth, MN 55802

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